Shop steward and adviser
We have given up national control of a national resource. It will be a scandal if the government fails to get it back.
This is a debate post. Opinions in the text are at the writer’s expense.
This fall has been a wake-up call in many ways. It has revived stories from the “old days”, about small people’s need and scarcity of heat, about gathering wood and cold living rooms. With the labor movement and the post-war modernization, people were to be provided with basic goods, including affordable and stable electricity.
No one should have to freeze in the welfare state.
Scarcity and high prices
It will be a break with history and a scandal if the new government fails to get us back on the welfare track immediately, but allows the feeling of scarcity and coldness to take hold. Leaving the price formation of power to the market should be a way of ensuring the best utilization of hydropower, through exchange with foreign countries.
Norwegian hydropower is 70 percent based on water reservoirs (batteries) that can store and produce energy at very short notice, while the rest of Europe heats water. It does not pay to cool down at night and fire up when consumption is greatest. Then you buy Norwegian hydropower at a high price.
Coal and nuclear power are being phased out, gas is expensive, and there is little wind so that there is scarcity and high prices.
It is an environmental and climate justification for energy to flow freely and create equal electricity prices in Europe. But we live in a cold country where it is ski and ice skating half the year, and we have industry, horticulture and other things based on electrical energy.
A high electricity price will probably motivate more people to save, even the rich, but forcing savings because most people cannot afford anything else is unwise. It is a long-term political suicide. Many have few options other than freezing or shutting down their business.
Large parts of the housing stock and business life are based on predictability and affordable electricity. This is how it must be in one of the coldest countries in the world. People rightly have little understanding that this no longer applies.
Forcing savings because most people can not afford anything else is unwise
We have given up national control of a national resource. Many demand to take it back, stop exports, minimum size of magazine filling, cut expensive joints, but the “governing parties” are hardly willing to change the market solution, or to break with the EEA.
It is a big and heavy case, and while this is being discussed, the high electricity prices must be compensated. Electricity consumption in Norway will increase even if we save, and without exchanges with other countries, we may also have a power crisis in Norway. The alternative is to develop more new power.
It is also controversial and will take a long time.
There is an urgent need for a solution
The government is setting up a commission, but does not seem to have understood the seriousness and consequences of not resolving this quickly. One must not just help “those who need it most”. A compensation scheme must be universal, a kind of bottom-up subsidy that affects everyone, including those who have the electricity consumption embedded in the rent, and the large consumers.
The community must not sponsor luxury consumption and waste, but provide incentives for savings. It is urgent to put solutions in place and state that it will happen.
It is entirely possible in one of the richest countries in the world, which only gets richer when the price of electricity increases.