On Tuesday, the “European Green Table Foundation” (EGT) and Bernd Stilluf Carlsen published an analytical report on the effects of energy policy in the North and primarily in two northern counties.
In my long career in journalism, I have never been more shocked, not by a presentation or a report, but by the negative consequences of a part of the country where that presentation ends.
They were overwhelmed by the feedback from attendees and those who followed the presentation live or on stream. In a nutshell, the government's Melkoya decision will lead to an electricity crisis in two northern districts of the country, where analysis shows electricity prices between five and six kroner per kWh in the winter months of 2030.
– Electricity customers in the North will lose 5.6 billion annually due to the Melgoya decision
Very poorly researched
The European Green Table (EGT) Foundation describes the decision to electrify Melkoya with shore power as “exceptionally poorly researched” and based on a weak decision-making basis, which will be financially disastrous for businesses and residents in Troms and Finnmark.
Allocation of power in an already tight power market means that all power available between now and 2030 is allocated to license partners Snøhvit in Equinor and Melkoya. Even if 670 MW of new offshore wind would fully meet the government's demand for power generation, we would be miles away from covering the gaps in power generation that would occur in the absence of fresh wind in Finland. As a result, LNG gas production in Melkloya may not be cut off, but consumption by consumers in Finnmark, you and me, and businesses scattered across Finnmark.
Swartisen and Gopalv are out for zero
The key to the future dream is the government's decision to dismantle the gas-fired power plant at Melkøya, the most important balancing power in northern Norway. The electrification of Melkøya would require 3.6 TW – significantly more than the critical balance power reservoirs in northern Norway at Svartissen (2.3 TWh) and Kobbelv (0.7 TWh).
Altaposten has taken a critical look at EGT's report, and so far we have not found any factual errors in the material or logical flaws in the analysis based on known information. Our assessment is that the report is serious and deserves all possible public attention.
Why, say Friedrich?
Then Fredrik Solvang and Norway's most important debate forum “The Debate”. I also include Dagsnytt 18, although it is in the section under “The Debate”. Both politicians and social commentators agree that energy policy in the North, with Labor and the Conservatives taking turns to back each other up, will cause lasting damage to the region.
At the same time, climate policy and how the electrification of Melgoya will affect global warming are also discussed. Why is this not central to NRK's discussion agenda?
We hasten to add that the NRK hierarchy with its editorial office in Tromsø, especially Helgemorgen, with its editorial office further down the hierarchy, has made a whole-hearted effort to create an exchange of ideas and get the facts about these important issues for Northern Norway.
Many will react to the fact that someone is actually asking questions about the priorities of the NRK editorial board. Personally, I have several times recorded notes for teachers in both Debatten and Dagsnytt 18.
In my view, health and energy policy is a good topic for discussion in the ongoing social debate in the North and in the country. Without receiving feedback or payment for registered themes.
Are we on ARK scale?
I'm not a fan of conspiracy theories. However; Carl I. Hagen's ARK rhetoric can be imagined to have had an impact. Does NRK simply not want/dare to challenge authority?
However, we in the North must understand that NRK believes there are more important things to discuss than what is happening in the North. Here only 60 to 70 percent of the poor, according to opinion polls, react to the government's Melkoya decision, and express clear opposition to the electrification of Melkoya with coastal power, as does the National Assembly resolution of the government partner, the Center Party.
But we understand that it's certainly important to discuss public urination and spitting laws in Bergen, which received a lot of attention last week.
Possible discussion topics
Here are some discussion topics that NRK deems not as interesting as peeing in Bergen:
In order to electrify Melkaya with electricity from the land, the government's proposal is to develop untouched nature and reindeer pastures in Finnmark with giant wind farms, which would provide electricity equivalent to the output of eight to nine Alta power plants. Is it okay to destroy untouched nature in Finnmark so that Equinor can increase Melkoya's profits by three billion a year?
The Finnmark Act came into being in 2006 and gave Finnmarks collective ownership of land and water (95 percent of the Finnmark's area). Management of property ownership is done by a property organization called Finnmarkseiendommen (Fefo), where the board is made up of representatives of the Sami Parliament and County Council. They have given Finnmark Kraft (owned by FEFO and local publicly managed energy companies) a tool for local value creation and resource control. Finnmark Kraft has been granted exclusive rights for power development on Fefo land. Many national and multinational companies want to develop wind power in Finland, but the land ownership agreement with Fefo is denied. It is fitting that they have signaled that the ministry must expropriate land for wind power producers if the government is to fulfill its promise of electricity as a precondition for the electrification of Melgoya. Is Finnmarks right to enforce the Finnmarks Act by allowing multinational capital interests to make money from a resource they own and manage?
Many politicians in the Labor Party describe the Conservatives and Labor as treating Finland as a natural resource extraction colony, with policy sweetened with a few sweet pills in the form of free kindergartens. Student loans and more. The magic is that first they took the fish, then they took the oil that was loaded on a bow and sent south, and now the bounty of the wind must also be taken from the oar fields. Are those who claim that Finnmark is treated as a colony correct?
The introduction of a ground rent tax on wind has been controversial, and everyone agrees that the facility primarily affects existing wind farms. In Finland, local and publicly owned energy companies have invested two billion in wind farms (without major conflicts between reindeer husbandry and environmental interests). The basic interest tax it's designed for could, at worst, send local wind farms to bankruptcy court. Why is the government putting a domestically owned and managed power generation into bankruptcy despite dire warnings?
A report by EGT from several influential Norwegian professional circles, led by SINTEF, states that a gas power plant can clean about 95 percent of CO2 emissions with carbon capture and storage (CCS). New information indicates that a ship-built CCS gas-fired power plant located near Melgoya could soon be realized. For Equinor, however, using shore power is more affordable. Equinor will have annual savings of NOK three billion per year by harnessing offshore energy. Is Finnmarkingen right to pay the price through sky-high electricity prices and a shortage of electricity for new companies, so Equinor can avoid the costs of cleaning up the gas-fired power plant?
Equinor Anders Opedal's CEO has recently pledged investment in decarbonized energy with an increased ambition for carbon storage (CCS). It was given to Equinor at the same time as the adjustment, which was 36.2 billion dollars in 2023, or about 400 billion kroner. Why can't Equinor clean up the Melkøya gas plant, but instead pushes the bill on Finnmarking with Støre's blessing?
The government justifies Melkoya's electrification with climate reductions in national statistics. The mantra is that to be credible in the world, we must take climate reductions at home. The gas released using shore power for electrification is converted into LNG and shipped to Europe for burning there. Will the world notice any difference if we burn gas without cleaning it at Hammerfest or Hamburg?
A baby's egg for Jonas
These are examples of specific issues that we in northern Norway deserve to discuss in the debate. This is particularly important because Ap, SP and the Conservative Party have blocked democratic treatment in the Storting.
Despite the seriousness, all decisions are made by a few, and mainly Prime Minister Jonas Kar Stor, Energy Minister Terje Ösland, Storting's Energy Committee Chair Finnmarkingen, Marianne Sivertsson Naas, SP Chair Trygve Slacksvold Vedum and Industry Minister Jan Christian Vestre. .
The latter defended the government's policy at seven o'clock in the morning on 25 September 2023 in the last political quarter as follows:
“….the Melgoya decision is a baby egg on industry and climate..shows a good political compromise, good craftsmanship and our boss. Jonas can manage the country in a proper and proper manner while taking care of many thoughts in his head..
There should be strong political control
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