Energy for the future
Conservatives promote wind power
Strong investment in offshore wind, together with hybrid cables, gas exploration, and more CO2 storage on the Norwegian shelf are among the measures in the Conservative Party’s new energy plan.
“In particular, offshore wind is an important area of focus, and hybrid cables must be part of this,” said Nikolai Astrup, the party’s energy and environmental policy spokesperson.
“If offshore wind is to be profitable, it must be expanded with hybrid cables, but the cables must be organized in way that they do not lead to higher electricity prices in Norway,” he added.
The discussion about foreign cables has picked up in recent months, as electricity prices have risen sharply. The Conservatives believe that there are solutions to protect Norwegian consumers, industry, and business.
Earlier this winter, the government announced that it was embarking on the development of offshore wind in the North Sea in the Southern North Sea II field, but they postponed the question of foreign cables. The Conservatives insist that hybrid cables are needed to make offshore wind pay off.
“The problem with a subsidized investment, which is what the government proposes, is that you will not get enough volume and the jobs that are associated with producing floats. They will end up in other countries, despite the fact that Norway has the very best conditions for building industry based on offshore wind, which can both give us enough power for what we need and make a significant contribution to the European energy transition,” said Astrup.
He stressed that the development of offshore wind also requires a good dialogue with the fishing industry, as well as starting environmental surveys on the shelf to uncover which areas are relevant to highlight.
Switching from oil to gas
It should also be taken into consideration whether gas should take priority over oil in an exploration policy. The war in Ukraine emphasizes the importance of stable gas supplies from Norway, the Conservatives argue. The Norwegian continental shelf will be further developed as an energy resource for Europe, and Norwegian gas will be a necessary bridge to a renewable future, the energy plan states.
“Gas has gone from being a by-product of oil exploration to becoming a main product, while exploration policy is still geared toward exploring for oil,” Astrup said:
“We are concerned that we must now assess whether the exploration policy should be adjusted for what the reality on the Norwegian shelf is, namely, that we are producing a lot of gas and that gas has become very valuable, that gas becomes important also in light of the green shift, because it can be used to produce emission-free blue hydrogen,” he said.
It has only been 10 months since the Conservatives presented their energy report, which has now been updated. Astrup pointed out that much has changed since last summer and that the situation is currently different.
“The need for power is greater than we first thought, and we have had a power price crisis throughout the winter. We now have a war in Ukraine that will affect the energy market for a long time to come. All this means that it is important that we think through how Norwegian energy policy will look in the future,” he said.
“The government’s energy report will soon be presented,” said Ole André Myhrvold, energy policy spokesperson for the Center Party. He is happy to receive support from the Conservatives.
“It is good that the government can expect support from the Conservatives in the offshore wind development when we soon come up with an aggressive energy report. The Conservatives did nothing when they were in government, but now they have realized that we must expand offshore wind,” Myhrvold said.
This article originally appeared in the April 15, 2022, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.