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They want to build a power cable to Herøya and let Statnett take over the line for use

collage two portraits, yellow jackets, white helmets

Sverre Gotaas, director of Herøya Industripark AS, and Jon Sletten, director of Asset Optimization, Yara Global Plants, believe we must have power cable for Herøya Industripark and Yara Porsgrunn.

The fear of high electricity prices, or lack of electricity, or that electricity is coming too late, and that "Norway Inc" is lagging behind in the competition on its way into the renewable society, is increasing.

The battle for the power of industry is a top issue in news and debates.

Need to build cables

Sverre Gotaas, director of Herøya Industripark AS, and Jon Sletten, director of Asset Optimization, Yara Global Plants, believe that we must build power cables for Herøya Industripark and Yara Porsgrunn. "We are now working together to get to the point that Yara can be allowed to design and build the power line, and that Statnett takes over the line for use when it is built."

"If we manage this, it will be publicly available. It is absolutely necessary for the industrial park, Yara and several industrial projects underway in the region," Gotaas and Sletten say.

Do things in parallel

"It is possible to do things in parallel," says Jon Sletten.

"You can do engineering at the same time as there are consultation statements and licensing procedures. You can buy equipment that you know you will need anyway. Project Hegra, (Herøya Green Ammonia) is in the process of looking at opportunities, but at some point we are dependent on Statnett doing something, or that they get other instructions from politicians to be able to think that they can do it in a different way than today."

Power for the green shift

"The main point is that there is not enough line capacity to Herøya, and that the capacity does not come fast enough," says Sverre Gotaas.

We are now working together to get to the point that Yara can be allowed to design and build the power line, and that Statnett takes over the line for use when it is built."

"That's the problem. The green shift consists largely of electrification. So we need the power. For those who are wondering what will happen in the green shift, we are in full swing in this region. We are already there where everyone is wondering where we are going."

Industrial investments and electricity needs underway in Grenland

  • Elkem Vianode graphite production: 100 MW
  • HEGRA, Yara, Aker, Statkraft, Herøya green ammonia: 30-40 MW for pilot, then 450 MW full scale production (2026).
  • Norsk e-fuel and Nordic Electrofuel, synthetic fuel from CO2 and water: 100 MW
  • Joint Battery Initiative, Hydro, Equinor and Panasonic, battery production plant: 3-500 MW
  • Inovyn, plans to build a new clean hydrogen supply hub at its chemical manufacturing site in Rafnes: 20 MW

Relevant now -  Ineos announces over 2 billion investment in green hydrogen production, Ineos annonces in press release.

Use the momentum Yara has

The industrial park manager encourages using the momentum Yara has.

We need 1000 MW extra at Herøya in addition to the current capacity.

"The electrification project for Yara is very relevant now. They will need 500 MW of extra energy. In addition, there are two companies at Herøya that have come a long way in planning for the production of e-fuel. They see that they have a fairly strong need for power, estimated at the lowest, around 70-80 MW, and if they expand larger factories, then they each need around 500 MW, too."

Need net capacity

"The main point is that we need more energy for existing and new industry than we can deliver on the grid structure we have at Herøya today," Gotaas points out. "One thing is that we need electricity, but I'm not sure if we even have enough power. Those who know this, think we do. I do not agree with that, but that is another discussion. Now the main challenge is simply that we do not have enough network capacity."

"We need 1000 MW extra at Herøya in addition to the current capacity."

"We have an impact assessment ahead," Gotaas explains. "Statnett will assess what the Grenland area needs, and then they will include Frier Vest, and Google in Skien. An investigation takes from six months to one year. And nothing has happened after an investigation. We have not received one more electron for that reason. If we look at everything that has been reported, we are not talking about 1000 MW, but 2000 and maybe 3000. And that means that all these areas must be supplied by a sufficiently developed network. So it's a pretty big job Statnett has to do to look at surrounding networks."

"The Hegra project needs energy in 2026. If we are to follow Statnett's priorities and way of doing it, we could have energy supply ready in 2030-32 at the earliest," he says.

Decision revolution

Jon Sletten in Yara believes we need not only an energy revolution, but a decision revolution.

"To meet the climate challenges that both Norway and the world face, Norwegian renewable energy is the key in it for Yara in Norway. Norway certainly has opportunities. But today's decision  making processes are too slow."

"If Hegra does not manage to provide electricity - how will Yara manage to provide electricity for other industrial projects in Norway?"

The Hegra project needs energy in 2026. If we are to follow Statnett's priorities and way of doing it, we could have energy supply ready in 2030-32 at the earliest. We need a decision revolution.

"I simply do not know. It has been read and decided that we are in a hurry to achieve the climate goals, and then we must also be able to have decision-making processes that are in line with that. We can not express from political authorities that we need to hurry, and we do, but at the same time accept that we have decision-making processes that are way off supporting the willingness to change in Norwegian industry and industry in Grenland."

Get up to speed

"It is completely incomprehensible that Yara would be able to design and complete a line in 4-5 years, while Statnett needs 8 - 10 years. It must be possible to speed up that process in Statnett. If there are resource problems, then there are people around the country who have this knowledge," Gotaas suggests, "but we must take advantage of the opportunities we have to increase the pace without compromising democracy. Then the state of Norway must decide whether the regulations we have are the kind we want in the future."

Drive forward green shift

"We want answers on whether industrial parks should be a driver for the green shift, or not? Because that's the problem. The green shift consists largely of electrification. We need the power. In my opinion, it is very smart to utilize existing industrial parks and infrastructure that have been built here in Grenland, in Mo i Rana and elsewhere. Because then you do not have to build down new green areas and instead use existing infrastructure," says Gotaas.

Prioritize places with infrastructure and development plans

"So if we are going to talk about priorities, I would say that the first place one must see is where there already exist infrastructure and development plans. They should advance in the queue. There is really no prioritization today as I understand it," says Jon Sletten. "Everyone fights for their own. Each municipality and district fights for its own. I think it is important that projects that provide new value creation and jobs are given priority and we call for a prioritization and a dramatic reduction in processing time."

Look to Sweden - halves time spent

"Look to Sweden, they reduced the time to assess and license processing, which takes 4-5 years in Norway. The construction takes about the same time."

"What we do in practice right now is that Jon Sletten and I sit down with other players in the region, and look at how we can utilize Yara's ideas to electrify its production in a way that benefits the entire region," Gotaas continues.
"Yara takes away Norway's largest point emission of CO2, the ammonia factory. In addition, Yara and the companies that make e-fuel, including Inovyn on the other side of the Frierfjord, are in the process of building up new hydrogen value chains, which will be used in the transport sector."

"It is really just a matter of utilizing the driving force that is already here in the region to keep the momentum up in Norway. There will be many new jobs, we will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, we will build new value chains on a hydrogen-based economy. Everything happens here, but we need electricity."

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