Nikolai Astrup, Høyre’s head of energy, hopes that the electricity price crisis will lead to a new local will to develop wind power on Earth. He envisioned several small – and large – wind farms across the country.
In recent years, onshore wind power has gone from being expensive – with uncertain incomes – to becoming a potential goldmine. But local resistance was strong in several places across the country.
Natural interventions were evident, while low electricity prices made it difficult to identify gains. Høyre’s Nikolai Astrup hopes that has now changed.
He hopes that higher electricity prices will create a new will for wind farms.
– I hope that. I understand that many people didn’t see the value of onshore wind energy when electricity prices were low. In 2020, the price was less than 10 øre all year, and water that could have produced 15 TWh of electricity flowed directly into the sea because the tanks were full and it was not profitable to produce, he told VG, adding:
But we have an energy system that is highly weather dependent and that means we have to build more renewable energy to ensure electricity prices fall and facilitate a new industry. In 2021 we had high energy prices, and they would have been higher without wind power that gave us 12 TWh that year.
The Paradox of the Winds at Astrob
He envisions Norway still having the potential to develop both small factories and large wind farms.
– I say yes, thank you. There is great potential to develop more energy close to well-established industry and infrastructure. But we are an extended country and there are many municipalities where it is possible to have larger wind power plants without that being too much of an embarrassment, he says, adding that local support is a prerequisite.
The right-wing politician draws inspiration from the continent for his reasoning on wind energy:
We have the best wind resources in Europe. When we see all the windmills that were built in Denmark, Holland, Germany and Sweden, it is ironic when someone thinks that there is no place for more windmills here at home.
– So no one thinks that we should build as many wind turbines as on the continent, but this is not enough. He adds that we can expand with local support and good local operations, thus creating new activity in many of the country’s municipalities.
Don’t rule out more carrots
In 2021, Norway imposed a production fee for wind energy, which means that Norwegian municipalities get one øre for each kilowatt-hour of energy produced.
This means that a large wind power plant – such as in Mosjøen – will be able to secure municipal coffers with around NOK 13 million per year. Whereas for a smaller facility – as in Berlevåg – the municipality has to make do with just under 2 million per year.
Astrup believes that this tax is currently sufficient to give municipalities an incentive to say yes to developing wind energy.
– Now we have to let the fee run, and see if we have received more orders or not. I am no stranger to considering additional measures if that is not enough. It must be remembered that this has gone from being a subsidized industry, to that we can levy an excise tax on it, and it is still profitable.
The government is now working on introducing a bill that would give municipalities more power in local wind energy matters, on the order of Parliament. Asher is now asking the government to speed up the implementation of the change in the law.
Astrup stresses that there is a dire need for new renewable energy – and points to both the upgrading of hydroelectric power plants, and solar and offshore wind.
– But onshore wind is still the least expensive, and has the lowest cost to generate new energy. This makes it more relevant in the short term.
Left: More cash for municipalities
Ola Elvestuen of Venstres says yes the scale for more wind power on Earth. It is still believed that øre per kilowatt produced is not a good enough carrot for municipalities.
Liberals have long believed that wind power municipalities should get a larger share of the state’s tax base. Elvestuen says more renewable energy is needed.
Unlike Astro, he does not envision large new wind energy projects on Earth, and notes that wind energy on Earth remains controversial.
– There have been many disputes, and therefore we are following the decisions of Parliament. Wind energy should not exceed important natural values, and it is important for municipalities to decide for themselves if this is what they want.
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