The Storting meeting on the energy situation in Norway did not lead to anything that electricity customers can be happy about. There were over 90 proposals, but none were adopted – all were sent to the energy committee. Here is the energy minister’s statement – the government will prioritize the development of more networks and more wind power – and that it is urgent. Scary, but we can hope the municipalities manage to torpedo as much of the idiocy as possible.
Of Odd Handegård.
Much of the debate in the Storting was irrelevant. It was apparently about “the green shift”, but instead revolved around how Norwegian energy policy should also be subordinated to the EU, and how Norwegian electricity customers should finance Norwegian and foreign speculators’ investments in grid and wind power that Norway does not need.
There is a comment on the parliamentary debate in today’s edition of Aftenposten, written by Kjetil B. Alstadheim, one of the editors of the country’s largest newspaper. He repeated his reasoning in tonight’s edition of Dagsnytt 18. Of course, one reads a lot of strange things in the media about Norwegian energy policy, and Alstadheim’s comment was in line with the absurd “analyses” he has specialized in. Actually, everyone should read the comment, at least those who don’t have heart problems.
Alstadheim’s comment on the energy problems in Norway was about Putin and about Russia’s attack on Ukraine: Russia is waging two wars, writes Alstadheim, one in Ukraine and “an energy war against Europe”. The aim of the war “is to weaken Western support for Ukraine” which will “weaken the cohesion of the Western side”. “Putin held back on the gas already last autumn”. Sylvi Listhaug in particular gets her passport signed for the statement: “Stop blaming the war in Ukraine”. The problems are primarily related to something completely different, namely that the EU countries have “conducted an irresponsible climate and energy policy. – Bjørnar Moxnes, Rødt, is perceived by Alstadheim as Listhaug’s “political twin” – he too “pretends that the war is not going on”.
I don’t have all the details about Russia’s export of gas to Europe, but here are the main features: The first thing that happened was that Germany, under pressure from the US, in 2021 failed to open the new gas cable that Russia has built to Germany, also the one through the Baltic Sea. I have written about the rationale for this strategy previously.
When the war came, the West implemented a general boycott of Russia. To some extent, this also affected the gas sector. Furthermore: During the summer, Russian gas companies had maintenance needs – there the companies largely have agreements with western industry, e.g. in Canada. Several maintenance projects have not been returned to Russia, and have contributed to reduced gas exports. Russia may have reduced exports at the end of the summer on its own initiative, but this has not been documented.
But despite all this, the import of gas to Europe has gradually become quite satisfactory, partly 10% more gas from Norway, much more liquefied LNG gas has been received from the USA (a number of reception facilities for LNG have already been built in, for example, Germany ), more gas from Algeria sent to southern Europe. And the warehouses for the winter supply are about to be filled.
I never thought I would use a positive quote from Minister Barth Eide, but he said at least once to Klassekampen this spring that Russia had not reduced gas exports to Europe. Russia had kept to the agreements made. Barth Eide’s criticism was that Russia should not have been willing to increase exports beyond the agreements.
In any case: Kjetil Bragli Alstadheim (and others) perceives the chaos in Norwegian energy policy as so problematic that he cannot find a single good argument that can justify the “reason” in the unimaginable power problems that energy policy has led to in Norway. Therefore, he resorts to alternative explanations that have little or nothing to do with the case.
The cause of the misery is, of course, the liberalized power market, the new export cables, the emptying of Norwegian year-round storage facilities, electrification of the shelf and much other unnecessary electrification. Putin and Ukraine are combined with the “green shift”, which becomes more and more important as a political goal, the less relevant the argument is to developments in the world.