Many people ask this question when developers like St1 (majority owner of Davvi) present large plans for wind power in the country's municipalities. "We already have enough power," many say. True, all Norwegian households have electricity in their sockets at home, but is that enough for what everyone is talking about: the energy transition. And what does the energy transition really mean for us and our everyday lives?
«St1 aims to replace fossil energy liter for liter with renewable alternatives for our customers. To achieve that, we need large amounts of renewable energy to replace oil. In addition, energy must be produced in an economically sustainable way, as no business can be built on negative returns» explains Thomas Hansen, director of St1's renewable energy efforts. He further explains:
«Norway is in a unique position in Scandinavia with its fantastic energy resources. We have waterfalls that provide us with a network of sustainable/renewable energy. Yes, if we only look at our little pond, we produce about enough hydropower to supply our own electricity consumption - for now. And even though there was massive resistance to hydropower development in Alta with hunger strikes outside the Parliament in the 70s, there are few active opponents of this renewable power source today.»
To replace oil, we need large amounts of renewable energy.
On top of hydropower, the Norwegian continental shelf turned out to be full of oil and gas. This has given Norway great prosperity and the backbone to be both the best in class for sustainable energy production and simultaneously deliver huge amounts of energy in the form of oil and gas exports to the rest of Europe. Much of our prosperity is a result of these two factors. However, the challenge is that we collectively need to reduce our CO2 emissions to prevent a global catastrophe.
«As the lucky country we are, it turns out that Norway is blessed with wind conditions that can make us world-class producers of wind power as well» adds Hansen.
He acknowledges, though, that wind power partly faces strong opposition.
«Yes, even though there are many positive voices for wind power, there are also powerful voices against it. Here, we would like to have a constructive dialogue, even though we realize that it can be difficult. We would like to show the overall picture in projects like Davvi wind farm. Here, we believe it is entirely possible to develop a wind farm that can generate enormous positive spin-offs in Troms and Finnmark - and coexist with the local community and reindeer husbandry in the area.»
Hansen explains that the local and regional spin-offs in projects like Davvi wind farm are many and long-term.
«First, you have the property tax to Lebesby, which will amount to about 55 million NOK. On top of this comes a production fee of about 40 million when the park is fully developed. But what might be even more interesting is the potential for follow-up industries that gravitate towards areas with cheap renewable energy. After all, we build wind power to harness energy. We at St1 are no exception. We have a feasibility study with Horisont Energi to explore the possibility of establishing a plant to produce green ammonia for use in the maritime sector» he explains.
We believe it is entirely possible to develop a wind farm that can generate enormous positive spin-offs in Troms and Finnmark - and coexist with the local community and reindeer husbandry in the area.
«To build a new green industry in Norway and succeed in our vision to replace fossil energy, we must look at the big picture. We must recognize the need for new, clean, and cost-effective energy. If we do that, it becomes a matter of minimizing the negative consequences and maximizing the positive ones. With good cooperation and through dialogue, I hope that in the future we can achieve this» concludes Hansen.
St1 is also researching the production of what is called synthetic fuels that can become diesel and gasoline, for example. The process is called Power to X, and you can read more about it here.