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ENERGY

Wind energy trade fair opens in Husum

The world's leading wind energy trade fair opened in the German state of Schleswig-Holstein on Tuesday, with close to 1,000 exhibitors from around 70 countries expected to draw some 30,000 visitors.

Wind energy trade fair opens in Husum
Photo: DPA

The four-day event in Husum, on northern Germany’s windswept North Sea coast, had just 743 firms showing off their wares last time it was held in 2008, and the exhibition space has been increased by 40 percent.

Although the wind energy market’s prospects are seen as healthy in the medium term, participants in Husum said that the number of wind turbines installed is set to fall this year, due largely to a slowdown of the US market.

In host country Germany, meanwhile, renewable energy firms are angry at plans by Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government to postpone the date when Europe’s biggest economy abandons nuclear power.

Merkel wants to extend the lifetime of Germany’s 17 nuclear reactors by an average of 12 years beyond a previously scheduled shutdown of around 2020 as a “bridge” until renewable sources of energy such as wind and solar suffice.

“The government’s plans are torpedoing the development of renewable energy,” said Hermann Albers, head of the German Wind Energy Association (BWE).

Anti-nuclear protesters have vowed further demonstrations in the coming weeks after tens of thousands rallied in Berlin on Saturday, while opposition lawmakers have said they want a referendum on the issue.

AFP/mry

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ENERGY

Could the Norwegian government introduce a cap on energy prices? 

Due to soaring prices, the Norwegian government is mulling over several solutions, including a potential price cap for electricity and limiting energy exports abroad. 

Could the Norwegian government introduce a cap on energy prices? 

High energy exports in the last 12 months, low filling levels in Norwegian reservoirs and an uncertain energy situation around Europe have led to soaring electricity prices in southern Norway. 

Last year the government introduced a scheme whereby it covers 80 percent of consumers’ energy bills where the price rose above 70 øre/kWh. The portion of the bill under 70 øre is paid in full by households. The portion the government covers will increase to 90 percent in October. 

Critics have argued that the current scheme still leaves households struggling with their bills. As a result, Norway’s government has said it is mulling its options to curb energy bills.

Norway primarily depends on hydroelectric dams to help it meet its energy needs. Still, reservoirs in southern Norway have been at the lowest level for ten years, public broadcaster NRK reports. 

Low reservoir filling over the past year has conceded with record exports with higher prices on the continent, making sending power abroad an enticing proposition.

Recently, exports have fallen significantly, and the government is considering introducing a limit to reduce the possibility of energy rationing being introduced this winter. 

“Restrictions on the export of electricity to Europe may be one of the measures that is needed,” Elisabeth Sæther, state secretary at the Ministry of Oil and Energy, told NRK. 

Earlier this week, Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre ruled out completely shutting off exports to the continent. 

“It is a dangerous thought and will not serve us well. It could give us more expensive power and lack of power in given situations. We will hardly be able to import power when we need it without contributing to other countries when they need it. There is a reciprocity in this,” he told the newspaper Aftenposten earlier in the week. 

Sæther also told NRK that the government was weighing up putting a maximum price on energy but warned that it could have unforeseen consequences. 

“We are afraid that a maximum price means that more water is drawn into the reservoirs, which we need for the winter. It is a serious situation. We must prevent ourselves from getting into a situation where we lack enough power this winter,” she told the broadcaster. 

At the end of May, the state-owned Statnett announced that the supply situation in Norway might be under strain – in some scenarios – all the way up to and through the winter, especially if Southern Norway experiences drier than usual weather in the second part of the year. 

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