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NORWAY

Why Norwegian fishermen are against more offshore wind farms

The Norwegian Fishermen’s Association fears that the large-scale development of offshore wind farms will cause damage to their livelihoods.

Why Norwegian fishermen are against more offshore wind farms
Photo by Agustin Piñero from Pexels

Large-scale expansion of the wind farms could cause irreversible damage to coastal fishing, the association has said.

“There is a risk of destroying one of Norway’s most important industries in order to build up something (wind energy) that we don’t know the impact of,” the leader of the Norwegian Fishermen’s Association, Kjell Ingebrigtsen, told newspaper Klassekampen.

There are approximately 11,000 fishermen in Norway according to official data, hauling in around 2.5 million tonnes of fish each year. Around 40,000 jobs are dependent on the country’s fishing industry.

Offshore wind is one of the fastest growing forms of energy globally, meanwhile. The EU plans to expand its wind capacity to 25 times its current size by 2030.

Most political parties in Norway also see large-scale development of offshore wind as an important part of the shift towards green renewable energy.

Ingebrigtsen says he believes this rapid development of wind power could cause permanent damage to the fishing industry.

“It is important to have good climate solutions. But you cannot just push the challenges out to sea. It will have major consequences,” he told Klassekampen.

READ MORE: What happens if you get caught breaking the Covid-19 rules in Norway

Although Norway’s sea area is six-and-a-half times larger than its land mass, Ingebrigtsen says offshore wind farms and fisherman are both vying for the same space.

“Norwegian sea areas are large, but both bottom-fixed and floating offshore wind farms are often placed in shallow water for technical reasons. Such areas are often the best fishing areas and important spawning areas for the fish,” he said.

Fishermen often have to keep their distance from offshore wind farms due to safety reasons, floating offshore wind farms have mooring lines which can cause major problems for boats.

To ensure there is room for both industries to thrive The Fishermen’s Association has asked the government to submit a report to Norwegian parliament for “coexistence and utilisation of the sea”. The organisation has also asked to meet the minister for energy, Tony Tiller, ahead of a report on energy in May.

“If coexistence is to be possible, we are dependent on thorough analysis being carried out before projects are opened up. It involves a complete analysis of the environmental impact of development, mapping of the seabed and consequences for fishing and spawning areas, Ingebrigtsen said.

Minister for Petroleum and Energy Tiller said that the government will listen to fishing industry concerns before the energy report is presented in May.

“We will have a meeting with the Norwegian Fishermen’s Association before the report is presented and are in the process of finding a suitable meeting time,” he informed Klassekampen.

However, he rejects Ingebrigtsen’s view that a separate report for the use of the sea is required.

“When more activities are to take place on the continental shelf, a well-regulated and well-functioning relationship between the various users important for achieving good resource management and high overall value creation. In Norway, we have a long and positive experience with this, and the government aims to discuss the relationship between the various users of the sea in the forthcoming report to parliament,” he said.

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ENERGY

Norwegian oil company doubles revenue as gas prices surge  

Norwegian energy giant Equinor said Wednesday that soaring gas prices helped it more than double its revenue in the third quarter. 

A file photo showing a North Sea oil rig. Norway's state-owned oil company Equinor netted a pre-tax operating result of 9.77 billion dollars for the third quarter of 2021.
A file photo showing a North Sea oil rig. Norway's state-owned oil company Equinor netted a pre-tax operating result of 9.77 billion dollars for the third quarter of 2021. Photo: ANDY BUCHANAN / AFP

Equinor, which is 67 percent owned by the Norwegian state, said that its net profit rose to $1.4 billion between July to September this year, compared to a loss during the same period in 2020, partly due to asset write-downs.

But the profit figure was well below analyst expectations of $2 billion.

However, total revenue hit $23 billion, narrowly beating expectations of $22 billion, according to analysts surveyed by Factset.

The number was also more than twice the revenue of the same period last year, when many businesses were devastated by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Equinor’s preferred indicator — net operating profit, which excludes some one-off items, came in well above expectations at $9.8 billion.

Energy prices have surged recently as the global economy recovers from the pandemic, and the northern hemisphere heads towards winter.

Chief executive Anders Opedal said that “the global economy is in recovery, but we are still prepared for volatility related to the impact of the pandemic”.

“The current unprecedented level and volatility in European gas prices underlines the uncertainty in the market,” he said in the statement.

“Equinor has an important role as a reliable energy provider to Europe and we have taken steps to increase our gas exports to respond to the high demand.”

Equinor’s average price of oil per barrel reached $69.2 in the third quarter — up from $38.3 a year earlier.

Still largely oil-based, the company said in June it plans to invest $23 billion in renewable energy by 2026.

READ ALSO: Norway oil giant Equinor aims to be carbon neutral by 2050

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