CEO Christian Rynning-Tønnesen.
Key note speakers at the annual and prestigious environmental conference Zero12 at Gardermoen outside Oslo, Norway, included Kofi Annan, Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg and Minister of the Environment Bård Vegard Solhjell, as well as our own president and CEO Christian Rynning-Tønnesen. More than 1 000 participants at this year’s conference listened as the CEO outlined Statkraft’s role in solving the climate challenges facing the world.
Rynning-Tønnesen started the lecture with a slideshow of storm Sandy’s devastation of the New York area:
“I was in new York just a couple of days after Sandy hit down on the city with full force. It made a great impression seeing all of southern Manhattan blacked out. It is hard to say that an exact storm or hurricane is the result of climate change. Extreme weather is nothing new. But what is new, and well documented, is the increased frequency of these natural disasters – and the increased impact that they have. In the US, the number of natural disasters has tripled over the course of the past 30 years. And the financial consequences grow larger. The world’s leading economies are in the areas most exposed to natural disasters.
“The world also needs more energy. Demand is growing as more and more people manage to break out of poverty. The challenge is to provide more clean energy, exploit energy efficiently and achieve high carbon prices to phase out fossil fuels.”
“The good news in this demanding scenario is that at the same time as costs in connection with natural disasters are rising, the costs for renewable energy are going down. Hydropower has a very good position as it is highly cost-effective, flexible and also the cleanest energy source, according to IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change). Windpower has become significantly less costly and is about to become competitive, while we have seen a revolution in cost reduction for solar power.”
“Hydropower is at the core of Statkraft’s activities, all our new projects are within renewable energy, be it hydropower, windpoweror district heating,” Rynning-Tønnesen said.
He concluded by speaking about the energy revolution we are currently in the middle of, and the roles that Statkraft and Norway have in this.
“As Europe’s largest producer of renewable energy, Statkraft both can and will play a vital role. There are great opportunities for the green industry in the years ahead. And Norway has an excellent starting point with a high degree of renewable energy and considerable technological expertise. We have a stable political system and vast financial resources. Norway has the opportunity to become a guiding star on climate policy.
“In order for us to succeed, industry, technology and politics must all pull together,” Rynning-Tønnesen said.