State Secretary Liv Lønnum gave the opening speech at the EU Ambassadors' visit to Klemetsrudanlegget in Oslo on 25 February 2019.
Ambassadors, excellences, ladies and gentlemen.
It is a pleasure meet you, and to welcoming you to Klemetsrud.
As you will see, much of Oslo's household waste ends up here.
We no longer have land-fills. Waste that cannot be recycled, is burned. This is better use of the resources, and much better for the climate. This plant produces district heating, making sure Oslo's buildings are warm and comfortable during the winter.
Klemetsrud is also interesting, because it illustrates our efforts on Carbon Capture and Storage – CCS.
CCS was one of our main topics, when I met EU climate and energy commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete earlier this month. Another important topic was Norwegian gas to the EU.
Norway will continue to be a stable and predictable supplier of energy to the EU.
I believe natural gas has a key role to play in the European energy mix for decades to come. Gas has a lot to offer in the transition to a low carbon energy system. Norway's gas exports covers 25 percent of the European gas use. Our gas exports to the EU has been record high the last years.
Around one third of our estimated gas resources have been produced.This means that we have a lot of gas left to produce.
We expect a high and stable level of gas exports to the EU in the years to come. As the share of intermittent energy generation grows in Europe, the need for balancing power will become more important.
Natural gas is a very flexible energy source. It can handle large variations in energy supply and demand, and is an essential partner for the large-scale development of wind and solar power. Natural gas also has far lower greenhouse gas emissions than coal.
And, the climate footprint of Norwegian gas is far lower than the world average, because of strict environmental rules on the Norwegian Continental Shelf. Replacing coal with gas is a fast and cost-effective way to reduce emissions.
In a decarbonized Europe beyond 2050, the established gas infrastructure could be used both for biogas and hydrogen made from natural gas.
Combined with CCS, it could be an attractive source of energy in a future zero-emission energy sector.
Norway also have abundant resources of renewables. Nearly all of the Norwegian electricity production comes from renewable sources, mainly hydropower. Renewables constitute 70 percent of our energy mix.
Our large hydropower reservoirs offer valuable flexibility into the market. Wind power is increasing its share in Norwegian electricity production.
We also work to develop offshore wind. One of the world's first offshore wind farms, Hywind Scotland, had its pilot days in Norwegian waters.
Norway has a long tradition for a market-based approach for trade and production of electricity. Together with the other Nordic countries, we have had a well-functioning common market for electricity for a long time.
Today, we are also well integrated with the European electricity systems, through interconnectors and integrated markets.
I am glad to see that market principles are more central in the new EU legislation.
A great benefit of a market-based approach, is that it offers flexibility, and enables more efficient use of our resources.
In addition to common EU-rules, cooperation on sound, innovative and practical solutions is important. I am therefore looking forward to continue the good cooperation on developing an efficient energy system in the future.
Let me now turn to Carbon Capture and Storage, CCS.
Low-emission technologies like CCS are key to reaching the goals of the Paris Agreement. Again, cooperation is necessary in order to succeed.
In Norway, we have the competence and experience with CO2 capture and storage. The industry has been using CCS technology offshore since the middle of the 1990s. We have two CCS-projects in operation.
We are now developing a new full-chain CCS demonstration project. This includes capture, transport and storage solutions. Klemetsrud is a key part of this. This new focus is on industries with few other options for large emission reductions. This includes both cement and waste incineration.
The plan is to transport CO2 from the industrial sites, and store it offshore. The reservoir will have extra capacity. This allows for more CO2 than the volumes planned from Norwegian sources.
The project is European by nature. It includes large European companies like Heidelberg Cement, Fortum, Shell, Total and Equinor. Together they will establish a basis for a common European CO2infrastructure.
Energy intensive industries account for a quarter of the EU's CO2emissions. For some industries, like cement, there is no existing alternative. For other industries, like waste incineration or use of biomass, CCS can provide negative emissions.
CCS represents an opportunity for Europe for new businesses and jobs. CCS has the potential for widespread use, but is still very costly. It still represents financial risk.
This means that we need more cooperation, a clear political will, and sharing of cost and risk. To spend public money on a new CCS project in Norway, the project must be relevant for Europe.
The main aim of the project is not cutting Norwegian emissions, but to creating a technological leap for CCS. This is why we would like to see co-funding. It would also help to see other European CCS projects make use of our planned CCS infrastructure.
This is of mutual benefit.
To conclude: Let me underline the good and close relationship between Norway, the EU and the EU member states in the energy field.
This is not self evident. A good relationship is never established once and for all. It takes effort and work - every day! I think we should be proud of this. And I look forward to a continued our close cooperation going forward.
Thank you for your attention!