December 1, 2022

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- Never heard of it - E24

– Never heard of it – E24

Norway needs more power, and the government’s increased energy taxes are creating enormous uncertainty, says Harald Solberg, president of the Shipping Association. – The government should completely change course there, he says.

Managing Director Harald Solberg of the Norwegian Shipping Association.
published: published:

E24 met Solberg during the Zero conference, where he was among many who doubted Norway would meet its target of cutting emissions by 55 percent by 2030.

So far, Norway is only on track to cut 25 percent in 2030, according to its own figures. Solberg believes it is a prerequisite for reaching Norway’s climate goals, and that is that there is enough energy for all climate measures.

The energy transition is closely related to the green transition in many sectors and industries. Without more renewable energy, we will not achieve our goals. There, the government must completely change course, Solberg tells E24.

E24 recently reported a number of new large electricity consumers in industry and the oil industry that will require 24 TWh more electricity than current consumption. According to the Norwegian Environment Agency, increased consumption can, among other things, increase consumption even further.

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– Stop

For the maritime industry to be able to reduce its emissions, it must replace fossil energy such as fuel oil and LNG with more sustainable forms of energy. This can be done, for example, with hydrogen and ammonia.

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The cleanest way to produce hydrogen and ammonia is through electrolysis, and it would take large amounts of renewable electricity to produce enough fuel. Meanwhile, Norway is heading for an energy deficit in 2027, according to Statnett.

– There are already many projects on the technology side that are about to be ready to start operating, but they are stalled due to uncertain access to alternative energy, both hydrogen and ammonia, that are not on the market. Solberg says the price of alternative energy is two to three times higher than fossil energy.

As long as fossil energy is much cheaper than the alternatives, we need politics to build a bridge. But it is not certain that we will need this bridge for many years, if we can expand the range of alternatives, he says.

Read on E24+

New and old electricity consumers

Incomprehensible uncertainty

The head of the Maritime Transport Association is concerned about the government’s tax proposal on hydroelectric and wind energy. The energy industry says investments in modernizing hydropower have been put on hold, and wind power plants risk becoming unprofitable.

– The government’s tax proposal now with massive tax increases on renewable energy has created enormous uncertainty. There is, for example, a completely incomprehensible uncertainty about land rent to onshore winds. About five weeks before Christmas, we didn’t even get a draft draft to consult, Solberg says.

– Nobody knows what the government is proposing about wild winds, and it is only reported through press releases. It goes completely against all traditions of good Norwegian management, he adds, and is completely unheard of for the entire industry.

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He worries about the signals the government is giving international investors, by allowing major changes to the framework. This could create challenges for future investments in offshore wind, the Shipping Association chairman believes.

It creates uncertainty about future offshore wind investments. All international investors then expect that uncertainty over land rent can also arise with offshore winds. We need to clear this up very quickly, because this is not sustainable, Solberg says.

The government indicated that the tax will be subject to consultation, and that it will listen to input.

– We think it is absolutely right to introduce a ground rent tax on wind energy as well, but it should be arranged in such a way that we also receive future investments, Oil and Energy Minister Terje Asland told E24 this week.

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Finance Norway warned

At a hearing in the European Parliament’s Finance Committee recently, Edar Kreutzer, CEO of Finans Norge, referred to the proposal for a land rent tax on wind power as an “international scandal”. He feared that Norwegian wind power plants would go bankrupt.

Norway’s finance chief told the finance committee that he had met on the matter with 14 international investors with a total of 92,000 billion kroner under management, an amount equivalent to eight oil funds.

– I am concerned about the consequences of increased political risks for the financing of heavy industrial projects in Norway. The director of Finans Norge said that this is a real fear to E24 Last month.

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– How will this affect the willingness of international capital to finance future projects in Norway, such as offshore wind at Otsera Nord and Sørlej Nordsø 2? asked Kreutzer.

Representing the German parliament Geir Pollstad (Sp) rejected that the land rent tax on wind power is a scandal, and indicated that the proposal should be consulted.

– I’m taking this calmly, Pollestad told E24 in October.

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