“We want to be the best in the world at what we do!”
“It’s exciting to get up every day and check whether yesterday’s weather forecast was correct,” says Vidar Fossøy, head of section at Statkraft’s regional office in Gaupne, Norway. He has an above-average interest in the weather, nature and sustainability.
The first thing engineer Vidar Fossøy (47) does when he wakes up each morning is to have a look out of his bedroom window. Up at the 218-metre high protected waterfall Feigefossen to check whether yesterday’s weather forecast was correct.
Is the waterfall as wild and full as the forecast predicted? Is it cascading down with a crashing boom? Or is it scarcely a trickle?
“Every morning, getting up is just as exciting,” says Vidar with a smile. He lives just outside the little village of Gaupne in Norway’s Vestland County, along with almost 1,300 fellow ‘Gaupninger’. They are used to being surrounded by precipitous mountains, massive waterfalls and blue-green fjords wherever they look.
When Vidar Fossøy has seized the day and a few minutes later arrives at work, he makes his first of many cups of coffee and gazes straight out at one of Norway’s breathtaking natural treasures: the Jostedalsbreen glacier.
He is very aware of the changes taking place in the natural environment, the glaciers that are shrinking little by little, from summer to autumn and from one year to the next.
“I’m very keen on renewable energy and that we generate electricity from a renewable resource, so we don’t harm the future prospects of the generations that will come after us. It’s a privilege to work at Statkraft, which is actively endeavouring to put climate change on the agenda both nationally and internationally. That motivates me in my own work.”
His workday is dominated by the weather and that suits him just perfectly. In fact, Vidar is more interested in the weather than most. One of Vidar’s most important tasks is to get the energy created by wind and water safely through the power plants’ turbines, so that it can be put to use as efficiently as possible. Ultimately transmitting it to you and me.
“Our objective is to generate as much renewable energy as possible with the resources and facilities that we have. That is part of our social responsibility. We must not only take care of the electricity, but optimise its creation. The more we get out of the resources we have, the less we need to build additional power plants,” he says.
Vidar is proud of his workplace; he is proud to work for Europe’s largest supplier of renewable energy.
“We have a substantial and highly qualified group of experts on staff. Everyone here is pulling in the same direction: towards sustainable energy and technology, and – most importantly – a better future.
In my department, we say that someone has to be the best in the world at what we are doing, and it may as well be us! Well, why not?” he smiles.
The regional office has a workforce of 45. Sometimes, they also work really close to home; perhaps helping a farmer who needs to cross a watercourse, or preventing birds’ nests from being submerged during the breeding season, or making adjustments to improve conditions for wild salmon.
“I love being in such close contact with our surroundings and the interaction between people and nature. There’s something happening in a watercourse all the time. There’s an awful lot of tonnes on the move.”
“My job also is also to keep the population safe. When something unexpected happens, we work closely with the emergency services and the public authorities. The job is very hands-on, and I love that!”
"I love being in such close contact with our surroundings and the interaction between people and nature. There’s something happening in a watercourse all the time. There’s an awful lot of tonnes on the move."
Grandchildren are the future
Vidar spends his spare time with his family, grandchildren, nephews and nieces. It is with them, often in the mountains, on the fjord or around the dinner table, that he recharges his batteries.
“I think a lot about my grandchildren, nature and the future. Perhaps it was my parents and grandparents who inspired me to take care of the natural environment and use its resources in a sustainable way,” he says.
His grandparents on both sides ran farms in the Jostedal valley.
“At that time, they did everything manually. In their whole lives they hardly travelled and bought very little. But they enjoyed life, surrounded by nature, in harmony with nature. In just two generations, we have changed enormously – myself included,” says Vidar.
With a sigh, he adds:
“The glaciers are shrinking summer by summer. We can see it clearly when we are walking in the mountains. I observe more bad weather. My most important motivation for the work I do is nature, sustainability and my grandchildren. They are the future!”