Green Shift in the North Sea

Energiminister holdt dette innlegget på SINTEF sitt Green Shift- seminar i Brussel den 30.januar 2024.

Picture of the Minister of Energy, Terje Aasland in front of an audience.
Credit: Stine Grimsrud/Ministry of Energy.

Check against delivery. 

Ladies and gentlemen, Dear friends,

It is my pleasure to address you here at this event where the aim is to foster dialogue, collaboration and research and development, in the pursuit of a sustainable energy future. We all know knowledge is enhanced when shared – and especially across borders.

So that’s why I am especially pleased to address you here in Brussels.

This perspective is needed more than ever. Because the backdrop to this conference is that the energy transition is not going fast enough.

Globally, the investments we need to succeed in reaching our common climate goals are not sufficient. 

We need to phase out the use of unabated fossil fuels – and that is of course challenging to do when fossil fuels are so very energy intensive. Renewables must often occupy a larger area to be able to produce the same amount of energy.

So basically, there are three main obstacles ahead we must meet:
- Cut climate emissions and reach our targets under the Paris agreement.

- While at the same time provide energy security to a growing world population. The last years have truly shown the importance of the EU - Norway cooperation, and the importance of security of supply.

- And we must make energy affordable for all, secure industrial investments and save jobs.

To succeed, we must deliver on all three criteria – at the same time. This, dear friends, is at the core of the energy transition.

There is no quick fix, but I believe it is possible – when we work together.

We need to adapt for the future and make political decisions that will lead us to a net zero emission society.

Politicians must play a role by setting the framework and provide long-term policies and do what we can to make sure there are enough people with the right competence for the important jobs that needs to be done.

Businesses and industries will play a role. To provide investments and know-how, when markets seek green and sustainable solutions.

And finally, but not least the energy research community, which many of you represent, will play a vital role.

You are the very driving force in developing the entire energy sector - and in the green shift we are now embarking on.

We have many examples of this in Norway, especially within the petroleum sector.

Every issue that has ever materialized have been solved through trying and failing – research and technological development. Of course, it has been helpful that there always were commercial drivers involved.

But research and technological development is also the success factor behind the shift to increasingly greener on the Norwegian continental shelf.

It has made it possible to cut emissions from the petroleum production – and even from burning petroleum. We can permanently store CO2 under the seabed – again thanks to research and technological development.

We can produce energy carriers like hydrogen that will be important to cut emissions in the hard-to-abate sector.

And now we are hoping that knowledge and know-how from the energy sector can be used to push technological development on for instance floating offshore wind.

If we are to reach our objectives of a low emission society and energy security, we must successfully develop, adapt and implement new technologies and innovative solutions in several areas, like we have done continuously on the Norwegian continental shelf.

Some might be minor improvements to already existing technologies; others may be truly ground-breaking and bold innovations. In any case, we need them all.

No matter how different our starting points may be, research and technology development will be essential for all aspects of the energy transition.

Energy is at the heart of the EU – Norway cooperation. In addition to the cooperation under the EEA agreement, we have also established an energy policy dialogue with the EU, which we have had for over 20 years.

It is in my opinion a very fruitful dialogue, we are collaborating on many different issues within the energy sector, and it benefits both citizens and corporations.

The EU and Norway are neighbors, close partners and allies. We share common fundamental values, and ambitious goals for climate action and in the green transition, while ensuring energy security.

In April last year, the Norwegian prime minister signed a Green Alliance with the Commission President. Under the Green Alliance, we will continue our excellent cooperation in some areas, and establish and strengthen cooperation in others.

Many energy policy areas under the EU are relevant for the green transition. The major policy response to the climate challenges and solution lays within the energy sector.

Carbon capture and storage, hydrogen and offshore wind are important elements in the Green Alliance. Other elements are continued focus on renewable energy and energy efficiency.

Dear friends, Looking ahead, we will continue to deepen our European cooperation in energy research.

We must, because we face pressing global challenges such as climate change and energy security, and research and technological development is the key to solving these challenges.

By combining our resources, knowledge, and research capabilities, we can accelerate the development and deployment of sustainable energy solutions.

Thank you.