Malkoya Electrification, Energy | Electrification of Melkøya: the worst decision made by the Støre government

Malkoya Electrification, Energy |  Electrification of Melkøya: the worst decision made by the Støre government

comment Expresses the writer's opinions.

There is a lot to choose from here.

After a long period of thought, my answer is the decision to electrify Malkoya.

Melkoya note

In the early 1990s, we were five friends who founded the European Green Table.

The purpose of the foundation was to help markets play a role in what is today called the “green transition.” At the Foundation's annual meeting in September last year, we agreed to analyze the government's decision from August 8, 2023.

On February 6 of this year, we presented the “Malchuya Memorandum.”

We have used private foundation money, and have no interest in the work other than that of the community.

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A figment of imagination

The result of the analysis shows that the government’s decision to electrify the Malkoya LNG terminal with renewable energy is unrealistic for the following reasons:

  • The government's ambition for 670MW of new wind capacity in Finnmark will not add enough electricity (kWh) to compensate for the electricity consumption that Melkonia will need.
  • The decision does not address the main challenge of electrification, i.e. the need to deliver power and balancing power (MW) to Melkøya, i.e. power when it is not windy.
  • The uncertainty regarding how quickly government measures will be implemented has not been clarified. The decision depends on new wind energy licenses and the new high-voltage network.

Hans Gilmuiden

Hans Gjellmuiden is a Norwegian public debater, journalist, writer, commentator, and former editor-in-chief of Morgenbladet magazine. He is a civilian economist from NHH, and has built, managed, owned and sold Geelmuyden Kiese Gruppen.

I looked very poorly

Our work shows that the government's decision was not well researched, and that the basis for decision-making is weak.

The result could be that residents, businesses and the public sector in Troms and Finnmark from 2030 will risk increasing their annual electricity bills by NOK 5.6 billion.

All figures and conclusions are publicly available on the Foundation's website.

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Neither the DOE, NVE, nor other key agencies had any major objections to the conclusions, or didn't care.

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1.7 percent of Norway's emissions

At first, all was well in Melkøya.

Equinor produced a shipload of LNG every six days. One load corresponds to an amount of energy of about 1 TWh.

The problem was that the facility's gas-fired power plant releases between 850,000 tons of carbon dioxide every year, or 1.7 percent of Norway's total emissions of 48.9 million tons in 2023.

Oil companies have long sought land electrification.

But the consequences of the extremely weak energy system in northern Norway have never been investigated.

How does one come to such a bad decision?

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Støre follows the “close follow” theory.

Green washing

Sometimes it's fun to imagine how politics is made.

I imagine this sequence of events:

After the outbreak of war in Ukraine in February 2022, energy prices exploded.

Suddenly it became uncomfortable to be a Norwegian minister in the wider world. They were rebuked for being “war profiteers.”

Ministers are more sensitive than you think, and someone at home may have asked whether oil and gas producer Norway is capable of greenwashing itself?

For a government dependent on fueling the economy with oil, cutting oil and gas production was completely out of the question.

Then it was cheaper to pretend that we can produce green oil and gas.

The idea, of course, is nonsense.

Green oil and gas, like Norwegian climate policy, is an illusion.

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But where is Malkoya?

– What is the largest carbon dioxide emission point in Norway?, one of the ministers might have asked.

The ministry responded to Mongstad, which emits 1.8 million tons of carbon dioxide annually.

Melkøya follows a short distance behind.

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-But where is Melkalia in heaven?, asked one of the ministers.

Norwegian ministers are more often present at international meetings around the world than in Finnmark, so the answer reassured them.

They decided to continue working with the idea of ​​electrifying Melkøya.

Desperate government

The next step in the process was to contact Equinor, the Snøhvit license operator.

Naturally, Equinor, which is 67% owned by the Norwegian state, has the same goal as its largest owner, which is to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

They liked the idea.

– They answered let's look into it.

In internal meetings, Equinor realized that the government was desperate.

She spoke more than she did on climate policy, and barely cut emissions after taking office in October 2021.

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– Embarrassing, somewhat stupid and completely unnecessary

Strict requirements

– Now we can make very difficult demands, thought Equinor. Without us the idea cannot be realized.

After some time, Equinor returned its order to the government:

Gas power was to be replaced by wind power, Statnett had to speed up grid development in Troms and Finnmark, Statnett had to let Equinor slip into the queue to access the grid, and the state had to take charge of gas operation. The Melkoya power plant, with associated CO2 emissions, should the need for energy balancing arise after 2030.

Norwegian Parliament

Now there's only one bump left in the road; Norwegian Parliament.

In the sixteenth week of April of last year, the following resolution was unanimously adopted:

“Parliament requests the Government, in connection with the treatment of Snøhvit Future, to conduct a separate assessment on whether carbon dioxide capture and storage (CCS) could be an alternative to the ground-based electrification of Melkøya that could be achieved by 2029 and would be implemented without declining Gas production in the future.

The parties in parliament asked the government to use Gasnova as an independent investigator.

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The government ignored the matter, instead getting the answer it wanted from the Norwegian Continental Shelf Directorate.

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Kindereg Vestry

This is how Industry Minister Jan Christian Vestre summarized the decision on NRK's ​​”Political Quarter” at 07.45 on 25 September 2023:

“…….The Milk Island decision is an industrial and climate-related baby’s egg. It brings $13 billion in investment to a part of the country that needs it. It contributes to the region having a greater energy surplus after electricity than before, and it is the largest project to reduce of climate in Norway's history at 850,000 tons of CO2. Then we take a little longer and say that Equinor should be prepared to keep the gas power plant running for two years longer specifically to make sure we get enough renewable energy “What's new in the network. A good political settlement, good ingenuity, and it shows that our President Jonas can govern the country in a sound and proper way and take care of many ideas running through his head at the same time.”

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He is able to combine incompetence and arrogance, vitality and strength

Simple for Equinor, disgusting for Troms and Finnmark

I thank Vestri for an interesting look at the Prime Minister's mental state, and I ask the Minister for Business and Industry what his definition of “kinderegg” is?

Is it funny to take a good project that extends the life of the Snøhvit field and mix it with a bad idea to electrify Melkøya?

Could the expansion have been better secured with continued gas power using carbon capture and storage technology?

If we are not going to use CCS in Melkøya, when?

Or is “kinderegg” the easy solution for Equinor and disgusting for a whole part of the country.

Hanisi Anenih

Hanisi Anenih

"Web specialist. Lifelong zombie maven. Coffee ninja. Hipster-friendly analyst."

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