Wednesday, May 18

LO and NHO are pushing for rapid development of offshore wind. Sp says that cables to Europe increase the price of electricity at home.

NHO, the Norwegian Shipowners’ Association and LO plead in a letter to the government to start the offshore wind adventure before it is too late. But Sps Marit Arnstad says no to offshore wind with cables to Europe.

Sp’s parliamentary leader Marit Arnstad believes that hybrid cables will increase the price of electricity for most people in Norway.

– We do not need new cables that increase the price of electricity for people, says Sp’s parliamentary leader Marit Arnstad.

KonKraft (KK), a co-operation body with NHO, LO, the Norwegian Shipowners’ Association and a number of affiliated unions, is pressuring the government for quick clarification on the development of offshore wind.

On Friday, the heavy alliance sent a letter to Minister of Petroleum and Energy Marte Mjøs Persen (Labor Party) with a number of proposals for immediate measures.

– If we are to keep up, we have to keep up. The social partners are united with important players in the business community, says NHO chief Ole Erik Almlid.

KK believes that Norway has “several unique advantages”. And mostly within floating offshore wind. But it is urgent, warns the industry.

“We must avoid Norway losing further ground in an area that is characterized by large plans and high activity in the countries around us,” they write.

“Competition is intensifying all the time, and what’s was already urgent last year has now become precarious,” writes KK.

The political potato

The development of offshore wind is becoming a hot political potato: the government wants “a large-scale investment in offshore wind” to contribute to the green shift. At the same time, it says no to new international connections from the mainland to abroad.

But the Labor Party and the Socialist People’s Party have different views on whether hybrid cables from the offshore wind farm in the Southern North Sea II to the continent are defined as foreign cable or not.

Without hybrid cables, which can also export power to other countries with higher power prices, the industry says that the project is not profitable.

– We can not start a large-scale investment in offshore wind without hybrid cables. Offshore wind is absolutely crucial for solving the climate and energy challenges, says Almlid.

Sp’s parliamentary leader Marit Arnstad says that Sp is for offshore wind, but not for hybrid cables.

– Sp believes that the allocation of land in both the Southern North Sea and Utsira North is important. But we will develop offshore wind first and foremost to cover industrial needs in Norway and for electrification of oil installations, she says.

– Does not need new cables

Arnstad totally disagrees with the industry’s conclusions about the hybrid cables.

– We do not share the view that it is profitable. It will only be profitable if it simultaneously increases the price of electricity for most people in Norway and in industry. It is clearly stated in the energy report, says Arnstad.

She says the industry defines profitability as “not government subsidies”.

– They do not say that profitability depends on higher electricity prices in Norway, says Arnstad.

She says it is important to distinguish between bottom-fixed and floating offshore wind.

– The development will be different for the two forms of offshore wind. Groundwater offshore wind should be brought into Norway. The floating offshore wind should largely be used to electrify the installations on the shelf.

– Floating offshore wind is much more complicated. I agree with KonKraft that technology development and the establishment of a framework for further work with floating offshore wind is needed.

– Increased revenues and reduced emissions

KK envisages an offshore wind adventure that will by far be able to replace both the income from and the jobs in the petroleum industry. Norway can take “a significant share of the expected development of wind power in Europe”.

KK estimates that 2-3 GW of profitable wind power can be built annually on the Norwegian shelf in the years 2030–2050.

“This is more than enough power to achieve both the goals of growth in green industry and the goals of emission reductions, and more than it will be possible to lead to countries in Norway.

It will therefore be a profit that can provide significant export and tax revenues “, the letter states.

To succeed, KK says that it is urgent to get started with the allocation of areas for the Southern North Sea II and Utsira North. Then Norway can face major economic and climate gains:

  • A completely new supplier industry with several thousand industrial jobs.
  • Increased power supply to Norway, increased security of supply and maintenance of Norway’s position as a net exporter of power.
  • Contribute to achieving Norwegian and European climate goals and ensure a strong Norwegian role in the development of the North Sea network.

But full utilization of the offshore winds is a few years in the future. Offshore wind can therefore not solve today’s electricity crisis.

– Even with the fastest possible development of regulations, licensing processes and grid solutions, offshore wind will not be a major source of power until closer to 2030, the council writes.

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