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Powerful signal

The government's willingness to compromise on postponed cleansing of gas power must not become a habit.


[8. December 2006] When the government approved the development of the Mongstad gas power plant without CO2 purification from day one, they used a pragmatic good reasoning. We understand that cleansing from day one became too tough a requirement to implement, and we are pleased with it, after all, the historic resolution on cleansing from 2014. Environment Minister Helen Bjørnøy got excellent relief from Bellona's Frederic Hauge, who turned out to be a visionary statesman in its rationale that technological developments will make this a major environmental policy advance. After Nature and Youth have dried the first tears, the party leadership has also described the decision's environmental policy gain. In practice, purification is only postponed for two years. The consequences of such cleansing are potentially revolutionary for the energy sector.

In other license applications, CO2 purification has also been included. The clear signals from the government have meant that the rest of the Norwegian energy sector has also made an effort to promote more environmentally friendly operations. Industrikraft Møre (IM) is one of these companies, and when they announced a forthcoming application for a license to the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate (NVE) a year ago, CO2 purification was an important aspect of the report. Now that the application is on the table, the gas power purification is also gone. General manager Alf Reinstad justifies this with a lack of profitability, and shows traces to Mongstad when Ny Tid asks him to explain the model he wants. IM wants a collaboration with the authorities on a commitment in the longer term, so that CO2 purification can be postponed.

Although there may be important reasons for concluding such agreements in the longer term than "day one cleansing", there is little doubt that the government here is in danger of sending signals in a completely different direction than we would think the Minister for the Environment. It is important that the agreement with Mongstad not only be the exception that confirms the rule, but the first, important step towards sustainable energy production.

Industrial power Møre gives the impression of wanting to evade responsibility if possible. We therefore support Bellona's conclusion regarding the Fræna power plant: send the application back. Here there is too much discrepancy between intention and practice.

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