Norway is in a class of its own when it comes to experience in oil and gas production, particularly offshore. This can serve as an excellent basis for developing new renewable energy sources.
The Explorer spoke with Thina Saltvedt about the opportunities clean energy production will open up and the role Norway can play in transforming the energy sector.
Formerly a highly respected oil analyst, Saltvedt is a senior advisor in Sustainable Finance at Nordea Bank, the largest banking group in the Nordic region, as well as a highly sought-after speaker.
“Production of green energy offers major income opportunities and can create many new jobs,” she says.
“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,” Saltvedt points out.
And while the transition to green energy will lead to a loss of jobs in the petroleum industry, she believes that the overall impact on employment could be positive in Norway.
“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 is deeply committed to sustainability. For her, it is not a question of whether there needs to be a green transformation of the energy sector.
“Rather,” she says, “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, and 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.”
“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 change will require large-scale investment and proactive politicians. And Norway does not have less responsibility than other countries – on the contrary.
“We have earned good money producing and exporting oil and gas. Consumption of this oil and gas has resulted in tremendous greenhouse gas emissions. However, we are not the ones experiencing the worst impacts of climate change. We therefore have an obligation to right this imbalance.”
The Explorer asked Saltvedt about her vision for green energy development in 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.”
In conclusion she says, “I would like to see major advances in carbon capture and storage. We already have the technology, but we need to develop an effective business concept to get the solutions into larger markets.”