1.3.1 Prologue

The relevance of the diploma

There is a continuous stream of articles and news bites from various channels. The science magazines are currently having special issues on the theme and newspapers more frequently report on renewable energy projects. The global political agenda seems to be covering two causes; the financial crisis and the route out of it that includes a build up of industry that produces renewable energy equipment.

The Challenges of the diploma

Renewable energy can be seen as a “Magic Bullet” that gives us carte blanch in consuming energy. If technical challenges are surpassed and we have a surplus of renewable energy then we are in the free zone and can use power without any concern. So thinking of renewable energy as an unlimited supply (which per definition it is) can render all conscious thoughts of energy use mute. But from today with 86% fossil fuel use globally we have a long way to go[1]. The transition from fossil fuel to renewable energy seems might need to go faster than technology and adaptation at the moment is evolving.

Situation in Norway

Norway has since the middle of the seventies been a big producer of oil[2]. The oil has given us great experiences in offshore technology and also given us huge revenues. The downside is also our states dependence on oil for revenue and the need for producing oil for quite a long time until other industry can give us similar income.

For domestic energy consumption the citizens of Norway has been supplied with electricity from pure mountain water which is quite the opposite of fossil fuels that is burned once and then gone. I wonder if this polarization in energy production has lulled Norwegians into a belief that we, Norway, are clean. The perceivably clean, land based hydro power is delivered to our homes and the possibly dirty, offshore oil drilling is produced beyond our horizon.

Today, in Norway at least, domestic energy production is highly centralized in big power plants that produce electricity and sell it through an energy exchange open to the Scandinavian market. The buyers of this energy are the companies that in the end sell it to the consumer. This monetary flow is managed separately to the electricity flow. The actual electricity has to be used as it is produced and the routing of the electricity cannot be specified to the consumer in other ways than ensuring that the volume produced and sold is equal to the volume consumed.

In Norway is 98,5% of all electrical energy produced from water, with another 0,5% from wind. There is also a ongoing drive to enable owners of smaller streams to utilize its energy in miniature turbines and sell its energy. Electrical energy delivered to end consumers amounts to 51% of total energy consumption in Norway. The rest are fuels for industry and transportation (NVE 2008)[3]

References in this post
  1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_energy_resources_and_consumption#cite_note-BPReview-1 [*]
  2. http://www.museumsnett.no/ntm/no/utstillingene/Jakten_oljen/historie.htm [*]
  3. Norges Vassdrags- og energidirektorat, “Produksjon”, 1. April 2008, http://www.nve.no/no/Kraftmarked/Sluttbrukermarkedet/Varedeklarasjon/Produksjon-/, (Accessed: April 2009) [*]

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