8 october 2009

Norway's prime minister open to more stringent CO2 reductions

Recharge, October 8, 2009

Newly re-elected Norwegian Prime Minster Jens Stoltenberg reiterated his pledge to raise his country’s 2020 carbon emissions-reduction target from 30% to 40% over its 1990 level if doing so helps break the political deadlock anticipated in Copenhagen.

Stoltenberg, whose leftist coalition was returned to power in an election held on 14 September, confirmed his willingness to raise Norway’s reduction target as he laid out his political platform for the next four years on 7 October.

Stoltenberg has been criticised by many in the renewables industry for allowing Norway to continue falling further behind many western European nations in terms of its green credentials. Norway is the world’s fifth largest exporter of oil.

He now says climate change will be one of the central pillars of his new term in office, adding that Norway will actively seek to increase its “reliance” on renewable energy.

Norway recently approved plans for its first large-scale offshore wind farm, development consortium Vestavind’s 350-megawatt Havsul I project.

StatoilHydro and Statnet – Norway’s state-run offshore oil and gas giant and electrical utility, respectively – are both looking to invest heavily in the UK’s offshore wind sector, with the intention of gaining experience that can one day be brought home.

But many in the renewables industry believe Norway’s green subsidies are uncompetitive with other European nations, making large-scale development of green-energy projects unlikely.

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