Movers & Shakers: Thina Saltvedt on the transition to green energy

December 11, 2018
By The Explorer

Fred. Olsen Windcarrier

Expertise from the petroleum industry can be reused to guide the energy sector through a green transition, according to Thina Saltvedt at Nordea.

“Production of green energy offers major income opportunities and can create many new jobs,” says Thina Saltvedt.

Previously a highly respected oil analyst, Saltvedt is now a senior adviser in Sustainable Finance at Nordea. She sees numerous opportunities in the green transition, opportunities she believes Norway is particularly well equipped to take advantage of.

Thina Saltvedt, Sustainable Finance, Nordea.

“For many years Norway has been an important, large-scale producer and exporter of energy, and we have gathered vast experience from the oil and gas industry. I hope we can take some of this experience with us when establishing new industries and new industrial clusters,” she says.

Although the transition to green energy will lead to loss of jobs in the petroleum industry, Saltvedt believes the overall impact on employment could be positive.

“For example, the use of green energy in energy-intensive industries such as metals production can help to keep companies in Norway,” she says.

There are also possibilities for building a supplier industry for wind power. Norway is in a class of its own when it comes to producing energy offshore. This expertise can be transferred to green energy, where we have already begun production of offshore wind power. Today we have an oil service industry. Perhaps tomorrow we will see a wind service industry.

Thina Saltvedt

A question of time

Thina Saltvedt has held the position of Senior Adviser in Group Sustainable Finance at Nordea for the past year. She has brought with her a deep commitment to sustainability and green solutions.

“Sustainable business is good business. We are now in the process of implementing sustainability within the entire Nordea organisation. It will inform all our operations,” she says.

The former oil analyst does not even address the issue of whether there needs to be a green transition in the energy sector.

“Rather, the question is how quickly we can turn away from fossil fuels and towards green energy.”

“If the world is to achieve the Paris Agreement targets, the energy sector needs a rapid transformation. Change takes longer than it ought to, but clearly such extensive change will not happen overnight. We must build a lot of new infrastructure to support increased use of solar and wind energy, while at the same time revamping the entire transport sector,” says Saltvedt.

“It is going to be tough,” she warns, “because today’s society is built on our dependency on fossil energy sources.”

According to Saltvedt, the magnitude of changes will require both large-scale investment and proactive politicians. And Norway does not have any less responsibility than other countries – in fact the opposite is true.

“We have earned good money producing and exporting oil and gas. Consumption of this oil and gas has resulted in tremendous greenhouse emissions. However, we are not the ones experiencing the worst impacts of climate change. We therefore have an obligation to right this imbalance.”


Unifying the green market

Ten years is not a long time in an energy perspective. Nevertheless, Saltvedt dares to think big about the next decade.

“I would like to see a significant drop in emissions and a dramatic cut in the use of fossil fuels, particularly coal and oil. I also hope that we increase infrastructure investments so that green energy becomes more easily accessible. We must develop better solutions for storing energy for long periods, more flexible grids and more efficient energy use.”

She also adds a final wish: “I would like to see major advances in carbon capture and storage. We already have the technology, but we lack an effective business concept to get the solutions into the larger markets”.

The green energy solutions that can help to achieve these dreams are dispersed among many small and large companies in diverse industries. Saltvedt believes that a unified green energy market would be more beneficial for everyone.

“Platforms like The Explorer can be used to build a green energy cluster, which would increase opportunities for entering the largest markets. The Explorer is doing an important job in drawing attention to good solutions and promoting them as viable options. Joining forces makes you more visible,” she concludes.