Speeches and statements

Opening of NEL factory for electrolysers

Minister of Petroleum and Energy Terje Aasland held this speech at the opening of NEL Hydrogen´s factory electrolysers at Herøya on 20th April 2022.

Picture of Minister Terje Aasland speaking.
Minister of Petroleum and Energy Terje Aasland spoke at the opening at Herøya on 20th April 2022. Credit: Margrete Løbben Hanssen/OED

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Dear friends, ladies and gentlemen, dear friends of the industry.

This is a new chapter in the proud industrial history of Telemark. For me, growing up with the industry, it is a great pleasure to be with you today.

120 years ago, Norway was amongst the poorest countries in Europe. Then we started an epic journey as a nation, beginning with Eyde and Birkeland’s industrialization here in Telemark.

This is a history about energy, where hydropower led to the development of industrial opportunities, technology and increased welfare. During these years, Telemark has been at the center of this development.

Europe’s largest hydropower plant at Notodden laid the foundation for an industry that has shaped Norway for more than a century. Moreover, the industry also laid the foundation for the structure of our entire society:

A society with small differences, but great opportunities. There is a direct line from what Eyde and Birkeland started in the early 1900s to what we are marking here at Herøya today.

Today, we are celebrating that the world’s largest producer of electrolysers has become even bigger.

We are celebrating the technology development, and the progress.

And, we are celebrating the world’s biggest fully automated factory for electrolysers.

It’s happening here, at Herøya industrial park – that is also worth celebrating.

The industry, technology and competence built up for 120 years, will also be the foundation for bringing our industry and our society into the future.

We live in a troubled world. During the winter we have seen an unstable and a critical situation in the energy markets. With soaring energy prices both in Norway and in the rest of Europe. The situation has become even more critical by the war in Ukraine.

This underlines the importance of an energy policy that contributes to jobs, security and transformation.

We are in the middle of an energy transition, and we have a great task in front of us.

By 2030 we will cut Norway’s emissions by 55 percent. We will create more jobs, increase activity across the country and increase our exports outside oil and gas by 50 percent.

To contribute to this, the Norwegian government has committed to developing new and green industrial opportunities in Norway.  

One area of focus is hydrogen, as well as ocean wind and CCS, to mention some.

Hydrogen will be an important energy carrier for the future. It will contribute to zero-emissions in sectors such as maritime- and onshore transport.

Hydrogen will also be critical for zero emission industries, and as storage for intermittent renewable energy, such as solar or wind power.

These efforts are crucial for reaching our climate ambitions, both in Norway and globally.

I mentioned that we will increase our exports outside oil and gas by 50 percent by 2030.

To succeed, we need companies, like NEL – companies that think big and acts big.

I believe in technology, and the interaction between research, technology development and skilled workers. We also need, professional management and owners willing to put in an effort.

We depend on this good cooperation between employees together with industries and businesses. We need people who see and who seek opportunities, and who are willing to invest.

By playing as a team, we can achieve great things. That’s what our industrial history has been all about.

My goal is that Norway will continue to be industry’s first choice.

Access to clean and affordable renewable energy has for decades been the foremost competitive advantage for our industries.

This was the foundation for building the industry in Telemark, what turned out to be an industrial adventure. We want to see more such adventures ahead.

Therefore, the government works to ensure that abundant , clean and affordable power can continue to contribute to jobs, value creation and industrial growth all over the country in the future.

As I mentioned earlier, hydrogen is an energy carrier with significant potential to reduce emissions from a number of sectors.

With the new factory here at Herøya, you are laying a solid foundation for it to happen. This is a step in the right direction towards a future without emissions.

In a growing hydrogen market, even more electrolysers are needed. A sign of quality will be that the electrolysers are marked Made in Norway.

Norway has competitive and competent industrial environments that can contribute to hydrogen development. Maybe here at Herøya.

Again, with my background from this region and from the industry, it is a great pleasure to be together with you today.

And it is a pleasure to declare NEL's new factory here at Herøya officially opened. Congratulations!