Historical archive

Speech at NEREC

Historical archive

Published under: Stoltenberg's 2nd Government

Publisher: Ministry of Petroleum and Energy

Opening address at the North European Renewable Energy Convention, Lillestrøm

Robin Kåss' speech was based on the following:

• Ladies and gentlemen, we are facing a serious double challenge of lack of energy and threat of climate change.
• Norway’s strategy to address the climate change challenge therefore requires good policies for the way we use and produce energy. This is crucial if we shall become a carbon neutral nation within 2030.

•   Our strategy consists of 4 key elements:
o More efficient use of energy
o Transforming heating systems to ones based on bio energy and waste
o Increased renewable power production based on hydro and wind.
o Carbon capture and storage.

• The Norwegian Government established in 2006 a national combined target of 30 Terra Watt hours of increased annual production of renewable energy and energy efficiency from 2001 to 2016.

• The combined target for renewables and energy efficiency shows how equally important the two components are for the Government.

• In 2009 Enova, the Norwegian public agency for renewable energy and energy efficiency, Enova, was allocated a total of NOK 2.6 billion in order to facilitate that we reach this goal. This is a substantial increase over previous years.

• Conversion to renewable energy sources to replace electricity and oil for heating has high priority. Enova supports district heating developments which will facilitate long-term utilisation of bio-energy, and waste.

Norway and renewable energy
• Norway is in a fortunate situation when it comes to renewable energy. As you know, together with oil and gas, hydropower is one of Norway’s major natural resources. 

• We are Europe’s largest and the world’s 6th largest producer of hydropower, which serves 99 per cent of our electricity production. There are still many projects undergoing licensing and under construction. This especially applies to small hydro and upgrading and extension of existing projects.

• Hydropower with storage capacity can work in synergy with intermittent and variable renewable sources such as wind and solar. This will help maintaining grid stability and energy storage, while supporting the further deployment of other renewable sources.

• I think it is important to have this in mind when we enter a period of massive deployment of intermittent energy sources.

• There are several wind farms in operation, and we have a vast wind potential in Norway, both on land and offshore.

• An example where technology transfer from the petroleum and marine industries can benefit renewable energy production is offshore floating wind turbines. In order to  be able to utilise this tremendous resource,
the Government presented a draft law and a national strategy on offshore renewable energy in June this year.

• The proposals create a holistic framework to ensure that energy infrastructure is planned, constructed and operated with due concern for energy supply, environment, security, fisheries, sea transport and other interests.

• The law proposal implies that renewable energy production may be established offshore after the Government has opened up appointed areas for applications. The process of identifying areas suitable for future development of offshore wind power is starting up these days.

• The national strategy discusses the challenges of a future large-scale development of offshore renewable energy production, and outlines how the Ministry will follow up key issues such as technology development and demonstration, area planning and grid infrastructure.

• The draft law and strategy creates a regulatory framework for offshore wind power in Norway, and point out the direction for the long-term efforts necessary to reach our ambitious goals.

• I personally think that floating offshore wind turbines, a distant but not unrealistic goal, would be a massive boost for renewable energy production. Last month, the world’s first full scale floating wind turbine ever, Hywind, was opened outside the coast of Karmøy by StatoilHydro. This is a good illustration of how Norway and Norwegian companies are on the frontier edge of the technological development in the energy field.

• According to the International Energy Agency, about one-fifth of the necessary reductions in order to avoid a 2-degree Celsius temperature increase can be accomplished through CCS.

• The realisation of CCS-technology is a top priority for our Government.  Our policy is that all new gas fired power plants shall be based on technology for CO2 capture.

• Norway already has extensive experience with CO2 storage. And the Government has initiated several CCS-projects already, in addition to funding research and development through public research and development programmes:

• In 2006, the State and StatoilHydro agreed on developing CCS technology at Mongstad in two stages: First, a CO2 capture test centre, TCM, with start-up in 2011. Second, the TCM is to be followed by the construction of a full scale carbon capture plant at a later stage.

• The purpose of the test centre is to develop, test and qualify CCS technologies, and with that reduce the costs and risks related to full-scale carbon capture.

• The development of cost-effective technology is imperative to making CCS an attractive and effective means to combat global warming, and as I said, we are devoting massive resources to this task.

Research and development
• Improvements found by research and development is instrumental if we are to reach our ambitious goals. In order to be competitive with fossil- or nuclear based energy sources, the costs of renewable energy and carbon capture and storage must be reduced substantially.

• During the past years we have done significant work and progress within the energy R&D area:

• The involvement of industry is crucial in order to achieve success in this area: a key aim of our R&D efforts is to develop new technologies and solutions as a means to improve our industries’ future competitiveness.

Norway’s international focus
As this Conference shows, renewable energy is a highly international topic.  Many solutions are found and policies are made through international cooperation.

Common green certificate support scheme
• A month ago, the Norwegian and Swedish governments made an agreement of understanding on the principles for the development of a common green certificate support scheme.
• Three important conclusions:
• Planned start-up is 1st of January 2012
• Equivalent ambition from 2012
• No discrimination between technologies

• In addition, the agreement focuses on grid development as an important issue in order to have a successful development of renewables in our region.

• Through the programmed “Clean energy for development”, Norwegian development cooperation has substantially increased its funding for renewable energy in developing countries. The programme targets areas where Norway has special competence, like in hydropower. Norwegian companies have increased investments in hydropower in emerging markets and developing countries. The Government is fully supporting this approach.

• Sustainable hydropower development is important for Norway. We put strong emphasis on environmentally and socially sound hydropower projects. Norway is strongly committed to work together with like-minded countries and organisations through the Sustainability initiative led by the International Hydropower Association.
• Furthermore, last January the International Renewable Energy Agency - IRENA – was founded in Bonn.

• I had personally the honour to sign on behalf of Norway at the Founding Conference, together with 74 other countries. The founding of IRENA is a further proof that the time is ripe for a major boost of renewable energy. 

• I am proud of Norwegian companies that succeed and are internationally leading within their respective fields. It is positive that companies like Statkraft, which is now Europe’s biggest producer of renewable energy, and StatoilHydro, show willingness to explore opportunities within the renewable sector in other countries, where the electricity production to a large degree is based on coal.

• Operating in other countries gives valuable experience and competence that is useful for our activities in Norway. To succeed, it is important to diversify the areas in which we work, and to increase our international activities. This applies to both Norwegian companies and the Norwegian government.

• The Ministry of Petroleum and Energy has therefore taken the initiative to establish INTPOW – Norwegian Renewable Energy Partners – together with the renewable energy industry to promote Norwegian competence abroad.

Closing remarks
• There remains more to be done until renewable energy will make a very substantial difference in the energy mix on a global basis.

• At the same time, we need to speed up progress globally in the area of carbon capture and sequestration.

• However, no progress will be made without the industrial strength and know-how which is represented in the industries and research institutions. We need such initiative and boldness to face today’s challenges as was, for example, evinced by our hydropower pioneers 100 years ago and the offshore petroleum pioneers forty years ago.

• With these words, I wish you a successful conference.

• Thank you for your attention!