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Nuclear Power in Norway: A Commercially Unviable Prospect till 2050

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Justice Nwafor
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Nuclear Power in Norway: A Commercially Unviable Prospect till 2050

In the wake of rising debates about nuclear power or 'kjerneenergi' in Norway as a potential alternative to land-based wind power, an analysis by energy analysts Rystad Energy, conducted for NHO, Norsk Industri and Fornybar Norge, suggests that nuclear power is likely to remain commercially unviable in the country until 2050. The report posits that the state would need to wait at least a decade before the commercial risk becomes acceptable for a positive investment decision.

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Nuclear Power's Role in Norway's Energy Future

The Rystad Energy report argues that nuclear power will not meet Norway's energy needs in the next twenty years, and recommends focusing on other energy solutions such as hydroelectricity, wind power, solar power, and energy efficiency to avoid an energy crisis in the 2030s. It also estimates that nuclear power would require significant state subsidies ranging from 3.5 to 10 billion kroner annually.

Criticism of the Report

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Jonny Hesthammer, head of Norsk Kjernekraft, criticizes the report as being biased and incomplete, asserting that nuclear power could be realized within ten years with private capital, without the need for subsidies. Rystad Energy counters that even with optimistic cost estimates, nuclear power would be unprofitable over its lifespan with the current cost level, and cost overruns in the West often result in significantly higher prices.

The Larger Picture

This discussion comes in the backdrop of a pressing need for increasing cross-border transmission capacity, following the energy crises of 2021 and 2022, which revealed significant disparities in electricity prices between nations. Moreover, the author's calculations suggest that an additional MW of cross-border capacity could be pivotal. Furthermore, the global growth in electrification is presenting both new opportunities and significant challenges to grids everywhere.

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