Representing the Nordic Council of Ministers, Busch concluded an event on energy in the Nordic pavilion at COP28 on 5 December, based on the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) annual report: World Energy Outlook. One of the main findings of the IEA this year is that although the door to limit global warming to the 1.5-degree target is still open, it’s getting urgent. Sweden and the other Nordic countries all have ambitious goals, including for the expansion of renewable energy. Sweden is aiming to achieve net-zero emissions as early as 2045. The transition will require the electrification of industry and transportation on a considerable scale, with an estimated doubling of electricity consumption. Busch stressed the need for huge investment in a robust energy system that can deliver power when and where it is needed. That’s why Sweden is investing in nuclear power, which can work in conjunction with more renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power.
Inclusion is a must for producing more power, more quickly
Electrification is often mentioned as the engine for propelling the green transition. Other solutions are also necessary to make transportation and industry emission-free and to ensure safe energy with minimal impact on the environment. There is broad agreement that we must develop renewable energy in order to become a low-emission society by 2050, and that the pace of this must be stepped up substantially. Although the Nordic countries certainly have the ambition to expand power production, they face resistance when people don’t feel included.
“Ensuring citizens’ support for power development will be crucial for all the Nordic countries in the coming years,” says Kevin Johnsen, COO at Nordic Energy Research.
Co-operation on hydrogen underway
Hydrogen can also become an important part of the solution. According to DNV, we need eight times more hydrogen in the world to become a low-emission society by 2050. For that to happen, infrastructure must be in place, and this is where the Nordic Region can play a key role. According to senior researcher Sigrid Lædre at SINTEF, the Nordic Region is well positioned to leverage the potential of hydrogen: “With close co-operation across the board, the Nordic countries will be able to take a leading role in the European investment in hydrogen,” writes Lædre of SINTEF. Hydrogen is an important energy source in the green transition and can contribute to our adoption of emission-free solutions in sectors that are finding the transition especially difficult, such as the steel and chemical industries. Together, the Nordic ministers for energy have promoted hydrogen as an investment in Nordic co-operation. When Nordic Energy Research announced funding to facilitate Nordic infrastructure for hydrogen, the announcement was met with great interest.
“Nordic Hydrogen Valleys as Energy Hubs is a research programme that looks at the entire value chain for hydrogen, from production to consumption. The programme is currently funding five projects which together are laying the foundation for hydrogen hubs in the Nordic Region. Our aim is that the programme will develop knowledge that will help the Nordic Region to successfully use hydrogen as a zero-emissions source,” says Kevin Johnsen.