We can’t talk ourselves out of it: the industry needs more strength.
Hydro Aluminum Factory Manager
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The record expresses the writer’s position.
The representative of parliament for Rødt, Sophie Marhaug, criticizes Hydro in an article in E24. The background is that we advocate the development of more strength for the Norwegian industry. Marhaug does not want to develop wind power for industry, and claims that Hydro’s goal in developing renewables is to make money off higher energy prices.
Marhaug makes a number of untrue claims, attributing motives we don’t have to Hydro. Hydro has One The purpose when we develop hydro and wind power: To ensure that our aluminum business and other industries receive adequate power at competitive prices.
We can’t talk about it: if Hydro and other Norwegian energy-refining companies are able to continue investing in the future, there is bound to be a change in the pace of renewable energy development in Norway in the coming years. As early as 2030, a number of Hydro’s long-term energy contracts expire. Hydro has to secure us up to 5.5 TWh in the next few years just to keep production at the plants we have.
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In addition, Hydro and other industry players need more strength to implement the climate measures that are so necessary to decarbonize our operations. Although Hydro is the world leader in low-carbon aluminum production, we must also reduce emissions further. Because we have a social responsibility, and because our customers demand it in the near future, we can offer a mineral with near zero and zero carbon content. As an industrial company, we cannot ignore our climate goals. If we do not reduce emissions, we will not be able to produce aluminum in the future market.
This is why we are very concerned about Norway’s energy situation in the coming years. For more than 100 years, far-sighted politicians and industrial builders have worked to ensure that Norway has developed enough strength to keep energy prices competitive for industry and acceptable to households.
Now Hydro’s analytics, as well as data from NVE, Statnett and a number of independent professional and research environments, show that Norway is moving towards a tighter energy market. Towards the end of the first decade of the 21st century, we may be approaching energy deficits and rising energy prices. If competitive energy prices disappear, so do the investments—and ultimately the industry.
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The reason for the development is not TikTok nor the lack of political governance. The energy market is getting tighter because energy consumption is increasing more exponentially than production. The whole community is electrified. Also industry. When consumption increases, while production remains constant, the result is higher energy prices than they have been in recent decades. There is no way around this challenge. If we want to maintain and develop the industry, we must also expand energy production.
Hydro is actively working with energy efficiency, by upgrading our hydroelectric plants and reducing energy use in our aluminum business. Our smelters are world leaders in energy efficient production. By 2030, we see the potential for an energy efficiency improvement of 0.7 TWh in our aluminum business – and then we will implement measures that are currently unprofitable, conditioned by the conditions of a stable political framework. But even with the full pressure on energy efficiency, we’ll need more power in the years to come — and power must have a competitive price.
Marhaug suggests that wind power is not a solution for industry. this is not true. Hydropower and other industrial companies use wind power today – on a grand scale. For 2023, long-term contracts with wind power plants account for a quarter of hydropower use in Norway! Wind energy is industrial energy because it is a form of energy that is obviously the least expensive to develop. By balancing wind power with our own and purchased hydropower, we can ensure a steady power supply and competitive pricing for our aluminum works.
For Hydro, this is serious. We take responsibility for the many thousands of employees who work in our industry, the local communities of which our factories are a part, and customers in Europe who need aluminum for their products. This is why we say that the situation of strength is alarming, and therefore we take responsibility and want to contribute to the development of more strength ourselves. We will connect the power we develop with our power and other industries through agreements on long-term energy prices, thus securing the future of the industry.
Marhaug claims Hydro “doesn’t like” that municipalities have been given the chance to say no to wind projects. It’s an obvious mistake. We are in favor of increasing the influence of municipalities, and our position has been expressed quite clearly in our consultative response to the proposed changes to the Energy Act and the Planning and Building Act that Parliament, where Marhaug is located, will deal with in 2022.
In conclusion, Marhaug reacts to the fact that Hydro has “turned up the volume” and believes it is “free” from us to warn about the consequences of Norway not developing enough renewable energy. We don’t want a big debate, but we want an honest debate. The minimum requirement should be not to speculate on each other’s motives or to talk out of trouble.
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