This is good for Norway’s interests. But opponents are angry.
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In the midst of the worst energy crisis we can remember, something happened that made matters worse.
Germany closed three nuclear power plants. On New Year’s Day, emissions-free energy was turned off, as part of the country’s green policy.
During the year it gets worse. The country plans to close its last three nuclear power plants in 2022. The equivalent of half of Norway’s electricity consumption evaporates.
We exchange electricity with the Germans.
Around the same time that Germany halted the nuclear switch, the European Commission went in the exact opposite direction. They will now label gas and nuclear power as sustainable.
The Germans plan to build more gas power plants. Nuclear power, on the other hand, is the plan of the French. They get 70 percent of their electricity from here and they want to build more.
Finland is a member of the nuclear club, and will open Europe on January 22 The largest nuclear reactor is Olkiluoto 3. It will help bring down prices in Norway as well.
But the question divides the European Union.
Belgium will shut down its nuclear energy by 2025. The Swedish government does not like the EU proposal. Austria is angry and threatens to file a lawsuit. Luxembourg describes all this as a provocation. Germany also strongly opposes the “greenwashing” of nuclear energy, which produces toxic waste that must be stored for thousands of years.
But the younger generations who grew up without “No to Nuclear Weapons” campaigns and Soviet disasters are much more positive Nuclear Energy. Parts of the environmental movement also hope that zero-emissions nuclear power will help us out of the climate crisis.
The new EU proposal – if adopted – would mean more gas power plants and billions of dollars in investments in nuclear power in the coming years.
It is also beneficial to Norwegian electricity customers if more is developed.
The electric shock this winter has speeded things up. The crisis has made it clear that it is too early to stop stable energy production. Europe is nowhere near making ends meet on renewable resources alone.
More renewable energy is needed, but also energy you can count on when it’s cloudy and windless.
This winter we’ve seen how important the gas you really want to get rid of is.
Because it was the astronomical gas prices that led to a record rise in electricity prices, along with cold and little wind. Nuclear power also plays a role. One of the price jumps came in December after the shutdown of French nuclear power plants.
We also note such high prices in Norway, although we usually have enough wind and hydropower.
The reason is the energy trade that passes through foreign cables. We’ve had cables for 60 years. Most people would agree that we need cables as a safeguard against rationing and disconnection in dry years.
The debate now is about how many cables we need, and especially about the last cables we need. They go to Germany and England, they have huge amounts of electricity and they end up in countries where electricity prices are high. Hence, the price will be higher here as well.
They didn’t get very tall until this fall. The background is the pandemic that put the world to sleep in 2020. The following year, vaccines came, and we had economic growth not seen in two generations.
Coal, oil and gas prices, which had fallen when the pandemic came, have skyrocketed.
Therefore, it is these sources that are used to generate electricity on the continent in addition to renewable production.
The drama was brought to the fore at Christmas at that time American cargo ships en route to Asia changed course at sea It was full of gas. And he took a detour and went instead to Europe.
It wasn’t out of kindness that they turned around. But because of the staggering sums, they can get paid for gas in Europe. Meanwhile, mild weather hit and gas prices fell as expected. The humiliating American fracking emerged there and later as the purest Marshall aid.
The timing couldn’t be worse when Germany shut down three nuclear power plants on the last day of the year.
Because the critics are absolutely right that Europe cannot do without gas. And the big countries with which we exchange electricity have been very poorly secured.
Germans live at the mercy of Putin. This fall, British companies gave up as a result of the electricity crisis.
These countries need to develop more power.
For Norway, cables currently increase the country’s profits from electricity sales, but electricity customers face exorbitant prices in Europe.
It so happens that even if Norway does not generate electricity from the gas itself, it should not have to pay climate taxes on our clean electricity which also has surplus wind and hydropower.
The boring explanation is that when everyone is trading in the same market, prices become more equal.
So it also means a lot to Norwegian electricity customers what the European Union will do with its nuclear power in the future, what our trading partners are building from new and renewable energy and whether they will be able to get gas power plants.
For electricity, it is not just about the correct values of voltage and water.
It is about people’s daily life and their security. Hence about foreign policy and security policy.
The new views of the European Union Commission on what sustainable energy is, is good news for us in Norway as well.
Because it would probably be better if someone other than Putin or non-democratic countries in the Middle East set living room temperatures in homes in the future.
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