Norway changes law for gas power projects

Controversial facilities given go-ahead without requirement for CO2 removal

The Norwegian environment ministry has approved plans for two natural gas-fired electric power stations at the west coast sites of Kollsnes and Kårstø. The authorisation involves a change in legislation to exempt the facilities from a requirement to remove carbon dioxide (CO2) from flue gases. It was announced two days after the go-ahead for the controversial project was slipped into the annual budget statement, much to the fury of environmentalists and opposition politicians. (ENDS Daily 5 October).

In a separate statement, the ministry argues that the exemption is "in line with the decision of the Storting [parliament] not to set stricter emissions requirements for greenhouse gases than are normally applied to gas power producers in other European Economic Area countries".

The decision was taken "in the context of developments in the north-European energy market and the effect of the Norwegian gas power plants on collective emissions of CO2". In any case, the ministry adds, CO2-cleansing technology has not developed as rapidly as had been expected.

Not all opposition to the project is on environmental grounds. The Norwegian Electricity Association (EnFo), for example, is convinced that the new plants will not be profitable for at least ten years, EnFo spokesman Vidar Kildahl told Bergens Tidende newspaper today.

Follow Up:
Norwegian environment ministry, tel: +47 22 24 58 10; EnFo, tel: +47 67 11 91 00.

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