Norway looks to green energy
Government considering creating state-owned hydrogen energy company
The Norwegian government is exploring the option of setting up a state-owned hydrogen company and has spoken to Equinor, formerly Statoil, and Statkraft about their ventures into hydrogen.
Hydrogen is a zero-carbon fuel source that can be used in fuel cells or internal combustion engines, and its only byproduct is water.
Minister of the Climate and Environment Espen Barthe Eide said a state-owned company would drive significant investment into hydrogen energy in Norway.
“The idea is a bit like that it should not compete against the current companies but be an engine to drive large hydrogen investments in Norway,” Eide told business and financial media outlet E24.
He said a new state-owned company, along with expanding other government-owned energy company investments into hydrogen, were ways of achieving more investment in green energy in Norway.
“A state-owned company is not a goal for us but a means. We only use it as long as it is meaningful,” he said.
He added that Equinor and Statkraft were both possible candidates for increased investment into hydrogen energy. The government owns 67% of Equinor and 100% of Statkraft.
The climate minister said a state-owned hydrogen company would also help pull everyone in a greener direction.
“When you really want to carry out a full decarbonization, you must have energy sources other than oil, gas, and coal,” Eide said, adding Norway would be able to make both green and blue hydrogen energy.
Blue hydrogen is obtained by splitting natural gas into hydrogen and carbon and capturing the greenhouse gases, mitigating the environmental impact on the planet.
Green hydrogen is hydrogen fuel created in plants that use entirely renewable energy sources. So far, only 1% of hydrogen is produced this way.
Minister of Trade and Industry Jan Christian Vestre said that a state-owned hydrogen firm, in the long run, could have a similar impact on the country as Equinor had.
“I have great faith in the state as an entrepreneur, and we also have a history in Norway where state-owned companies become very profitable, so that the community gets its fair share of profits. Equinor is a good example of this,” he told trade union newspaper Klassekampen.
Norway puts its oil revenues into the Government Pension Fund, the largest sovereign wealth fund in the world. In simple terms, the Government Pension Fund, or oil fund, is a giant savings pot that acts as a source of government funding.