Labour opposition vote in Norway sinks plan for £2bn hydro-electric interconnector to Scotland

Existing and planned interconnenctors, National Infrastructure Commission
Existing and planned interconnectors, National Infrastructure Commission

Norway has approved the EU’s third energy package, thus ensuring its continued access to the bloc’s single market.

However, in order to win parliamentary support for the vote, the government promised the Labour party opposition that all energy cables connecting Norway with other countries in the community will be state-owned.

This now jeopardises the North Connect project, which entails construction of a £2 billion power line to export Norwegian hydro power to Scotland by 2023.

North Connect is being implemented by a private consortium comprising the Norwegian Agder Energi, Lyse and E-CO and the Swedish state utility Vattenfall.

The State Networknet Operator in Norway, Statnett, will now have to take over this project, and this calls into question its realisation.

Stopping North Connect also means that all European subsidies for it are lost.

At present, the state-owned Statnett is building two other power lines to Germany and the UK.

Norway has so far relied on the European Economic Area (aka EEC) agreement for equal access of Norwegian businesses to the European market in each sector. In the country, however, they worried about the Brexit talks and the tightening of relations with the EU.

28 Mar 2018

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