2023-05-05 16:49News

5 May 2023

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Today's Top Nordic Green News:
  • Vattenfall's wind power plans on Krieger's flatbed face billion-dollar cost hurdle 
  • BCG: Warns Norway to expand wind power capacity 
Vattenfall's wind power plans on Krieger's flatbed face billion-SEK cost hurdle

Vattenfall's plan to build 46 wind turbines on Krieger's flatbed off the coast of Skåne became more than one billion SEK more expensive when the Swedish Government declined to fund the connection to the Swedish power grid. Vattenfall even considered connecting the wind farm to the Danish electricity grid but found it technically impossible. The Swedish state does not pay for cable runs to land, making offshore wind power more expensive in Sweden. Moreover, the permit process for large-scale offshore wind power is complicated and delays expansion.


BCG: Warns Norway to expand wind power capacity 

The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) has warned that Norway needs to significantly expand its offshore wind power capacity to maintain its position as an energy superpower. Currently, Norway exports around 2,500 TWh of hydrocarbons and electricity each year, with 99.5% consisting of oil and gas. However, given the country’s energy production is likely to fall by 2040, BCG believes Norway must develop green energy, in particular offshore wind. The company points out that offshore wind power ticks all three boxes in the energy trilemma, which are: energy security, sustainable energy and affordability. BCG argues that to achieve these aims, Norway needs to develop 100 GW of offshore wind capacity by 2040. This is more than three times the amount recommended in the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate's (NVE) proposal for new offshore wind areas on the Norwegian continental shelf, which only recommends expansions of Utsira Nord and Sørlige Nordsjø II by 2025.

Press Release

Hynion and H2X Global partner to drive the future of hydrogen-powered transportation in Scandinavia

Hynion, a supplier of hydrogen fuel in Scandinavia, has partnered with H2X Global, an Australian manufacturer of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, to establish commercial fleets of hydrogen-powered vehicles and the necessary infrastructure to keep them running. Hynion is already the number one supplier of hydrogen fuel in Scandinavia, providing refuelling for an increasing number of hydrogen-powered vehicles. H2X Global has already secured orders for a number of commercial hydrogen vehicles in Gothenburg, and with Hynion's network of hydrogen refuelling stations set to expand in the near future, the partnership is expected to have a significant impact on the market.

Press Release

SeaTwirl recruits wind power industry experts for advisory board

Swedish floating offshore wind developer SeaTwirl is creating an advisory board with two wind power industry pioneers, Andrew Garrad and Finn Gunnar Nielsen. The board, which is set to become operational in May 2023, will provide SeaTwirl with experience and expertise to help develop and drive the technology forward. 

Press Release

Scatec shares surge after results announced

Scatec, a Norwegian renewables energy company, reported a turnover of DKK 919 million for the first quarter of the year, up from DKK 759 million in the same period last year. However, the company's profit before tax ended at minus DKK 98 million, compared to a profit of DKK one billion in the same period last year. Scatec's order reserve for the first quarter of 2023 remained unchanged from the 4Q22 at 953 megawatts.

Following the release, Scatec shares surged on the Oslo Stock Exchange, rising over 12% on the day. 

E24, E24, DNInvestor

What we’re reading
  • Lessons from a climate change diplomat with months left to live (Financial Times)

Special Insight

We have summarised a feature article published in the FT, by Pete Betts, a respected climate diplomat and formerly a lead negotiator for the UK and EU. Betts was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumour in March 2022. We agree with the FT that his unique perspective - given a long history of negotiations and having no axe left to grind makes his views worth listening to.

COPs are wildly misunderstood

It is incredibly frustrating to see how poorly understood UN summits are. NGOs and the media haven’t grasped how they’ve changed since the 2015 Paris agreement. The decisions that matter are often made months before the summit, when most countries announce their so-called nationally determined contributions, or emissions-cutting pledges, as required by the Paris agreement.. 

The Paris Agreement assumed that there would be scrutiny by civil society and others of these climate pledges before COPs, so countries would be under pressure to set ambitious goals and change them if they were widely seen as insufficient. But that was wrong. The pledges don’t come in early enough, and nobody criticises the pledges unless they’re made by developed countries. There should be a much bigger spotlight on the failure of countries such as China, whose emissions are bigger than those of the entire developed world. Instead, there is far more attention at COPs on things like what is said about fossil fuels in the wording of a final decision to which no single country can be held to account.

My generation failed Greta Thunberg’s

I have never met Greta but I think she did a great job to get climate change on politicians’ radar when it was in danger of slipping off. I would agree that my generation failed today’s young people. I don’t think that was down to individual negotiators, though I don’t shy away from blame. I suppose I had more scope to make a difference than others did. But we did collectively fail them, that is true.

The 1.5C goal is hanging by a thread

This is not to point fingers only at Beijing. Developed countries outside Europe, especially the US, Canada, Australia and Japan, have failed to act for decades, when they could have done so at very manageable cost. 

Even insiders don’t always know exactly what is going on

The COP process is very difficult for all involved to follow. Delegates from 195 countries are organised into different negotiating groups that all work at once on scores of different issues: finance, adaptation, measuring and reporting on emissions and so on. It is impossible for any individual to be on top of all of this activity.

Added to this, governments have very different views on which countries bear the most responsibility for causing climate change. That inevitably leads to widespread mistrust and suspicion, which countries keen to slow progress can easily exploit by spreading rumours about the positions of other nations.

Ministers sometimes make bad mistakes

I still remember, with a sense of horror, the last days of the 2015 summit that produced the Paris Agreement, when the French COP presidency produced a draft text of the agreement. It is normal practice for a presidency to test the water with a near-final draft before tabling the final one. It was clear to me as EU lead negotiator that this was not the final text, because it contained things that would never be approved by national leaders at home.

A commitment for developed countries to mobilise $100bn a year in climate finance for developing countries was, for example, included in the treaty section of the document, not the accompanying COP decision. If it had stayed in the treaty section, that commitment would have become a legally binding obligation, rather than a non-binding goal — something no government in Europe, let alone the US, would have allowed.

To my dismay, the German delegation immediately said we should accept the text and, as minister after EU minister spoke in support, the whole room was soon celebrating the finalisation of the Paris agreement. I approached the EU climate commissioner, Miguel Arias Cañete, and told him in expletive-ridden terms what would happen to my career and his if we took this text back to our capitals. He was initially sceptical but eventually acquiesced after Amber Rudd, the UK’s climate minister, intervened. Gradually EU ministers stopped congratulating themselves, and we narrowly missed a dangerous moment. Miguel is a delightful man and never held this against me.

Climate campaigners treat China too gently

It is true that the US is the biggest historic emitter and has done nothing like its fair share over the past 30 years. But the biggest emitter today, by far, is China, and decisions taken in Beijing matter more than any others. I’m amazed by how much pushback I get from some NGO leaders for saying this.

Personal relationships really matter

Todd Stern, the US lead negotiator, and his opposite number in China, Xie Zhenhua, formed a very close bond that was at the heart of many of the compromises that helped deliver the Paris agreement. They visited each other’s homes.

If I had to name one person who was crucial it would be the late Tony de Brum, the foreign minister of the Marshall Islands. Tony was not a barnstorming speaker. He never hectored or badgered, but his commitment to solving the climate problem was obvious. The Marshall Islands is also less susceptible to being browbeaten by China than other smaller nations. It has a US military base and recognises Taiwan. But Tony was willing to challenge all of us, including the US and the EU. The upshot was he had tremendous personal authority, which he used to create an unstoppable “high-ambition coalition” of countries that eventually included the US and helped to produce the Paris Agreement.

World leaders can be helpful or hopeless

Leaders behave in very different ways at these summits. Gordon Brown was all over the detail at the 2009 COP in Copenhagen and personally helped to save the meeting from failure by throwing himself into the negotiations. In Glasgow in 2021, Boris Johnson and his team were almost entirely focused on producing headlines that presented the COP as a success. Johnson also lambasted his COP president Alok Sharma for succumbing to tears after a last-minute intervention from India and China weakened efforts to phase out the use of coal power. Apparently, Johnson thought it made the COP look like a failure.

A climate negotiator’s life is not fun

The life of a climate negotiator can sound glamorous, but it almost never is. COPs last for two weeks and 16-hour days are typical in the first week. This can extend to 20 hours in the second week, which very often ends with three or four days when you have no sleep at all.

About Nordic Green News

The Nordic countries are some of the most dynamic and successful economies in the world. They are also leaders in sustainability, from renewable energy, biofuels, carbon capture and storage and the hydrogen economy, circular economy business models and battery development, the Nordics are pioneers in policy design, technology development and consumer uptake. Mundus Nordic Green News is covering this transition for the international community. Every day we curate the stories of most relevance to international businesspeople and policy experts from the flow of news. Mundus Nordic Green Indices summarise the meta-data from our daily coverage to enable easy tracking of trends. We supplement these with our own opinion pieces and commentary.