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Norway seen as “Europe’s battery” if develops wind  

Norway could become “Europe’s battery” by developing huge offshore wind parks backed by existing hydro-power reservoirs, Oil and Energy Minister Aaslaug Haga said on Monday.

She said that Norway’s Energy Council, comprising business leaders and government officials, would issue a report later on Monday outlining ways to build wind parks off the coast in a shift to greener energy for the world’s NO. 5 oil exporter.

“The report points to the enormous potential in offshore wind power,” Haga wrote in an article in the financial daily Dagens Naeringsliv. Wind could contribute to a goal of raising energy capacity while cutting emissions of greenhouse gases. She said that Norway had the advantage of being able to link unpredictable wind power to hydro-electric reservoirs, which can be turned on and off.

“Norwegian water reservoirs can be ‘Europe’s battery’ because we sit on almost half the reservoir capacity in Europe,” she wrote.

Almost all of Norway’s electricity comes from hydro-power and Norway could help the European Union reach a goal of getting 20 percent of its electricity from renewable sources such as wind, solar, hydro and wave power by 2020.

And Norway’s offshore oil and gas platforms, which use large amounts of fossil fuel in their generators, could be powered in future by renewable energy such as floating windmills.

StatoilHydro said last week that it would invest $80 million to build the world’s first full-scale floating wind turbine that would start up in 2009. Such turbines are now far more expensive than on land.

“After many years of wind power development on land in Europe, there is now a lack of suitable areas on land,” Haga said. “There may also be a lack of areas in shallow waters. Norway has large areas at sea with good wind conditions.”

The daily Dagsavisen said the Energy Council’s report would say that Norway could produce 40 terawatt hours of energy a year from renewable energy by 2025 and that half could come from wind turbines at sea, either floating or standing on the seabed.

It said the report also said that Norway should build at least three to five offshore wind parks by 2025 as well as a network that can transport power to other European nations.


26 May 2008

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