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“Workforce” – The power that provides jobs

– There is huge development in the telemark region, and that is why access to the power of tomorrow is so important to address, says Sverre Gotaas, CEO. of Herøya Industrial Park.

Written by: Jan Georg Iversen Photography by: Vegard Giskehaug

The Telemark region, That includes the area of Grenland and Herøya Industrial Park, is currently working to be one of the world’s greenest industrial environments. In addition, they have some very special benefits for anyone who wants to establish a new and sustainable industrial and commercial business.

The opportunities in the area will continue to provide more and more jobs.
But- as the number of new power-intensive projects being planned increases so will the power needs of the future.
In order for the Telemark region to be able to continue its positive development and retain and attract profitable industry, politicians must have power production and grid capacity high on their agenda.

Powerful employment opportunities

NHO believes that by 2030, 250,000 new jobs must be created. The Telemark region can today point to a development in growth.

Sverre Gotaas, CEO Herøya Industrial Park 

– If we add up all known and potential new players in the Grenland area, we are talking about 3,000 new industrial jobs, says Sverre Gotaas.
Google has also shown interest in having a data center in the area, but this is not included in Gotaas’ calculation.
– In addition there would be a ripple effect. Employment opportunities in areas such as the service and supply industry, teaching and retail would also all increase. At best we are looking at 12-16,000 jobs.

Do we have enough power to face the future?

Jens Bjørn Staff, CEO of Skagerak Energi Photograp by: Per Eirik Hekkelstrand

Jens Bjørn Staff is CEO of Skagerak Energi, the regions largest energy company. He is ready to pick up the ball.

If we are to develop the region further, we need enough power to meet the needs of society as such and the industry in particular. Not least, we need a strong network that can distribute the power where it is needed. We are going to electrify and decarbonise Norway and our region, says Staff.

Staff has noted the industry’s concern about whether there is enough power in Norway in the time ahead:
– The industry is clear on the ambitions ahead here in the region, and I want to be just as clear back: We want to play ball to enable the ambitions. We have to deliver on this, says the Skagerak boss.

– To achieve this, we depend on the right framework conditions, both for power supply and for the development of the power grid, he says.

Staff and Gotaas are in no doubt about who holds the key:
– It is the politicians centrally who set the framework for how we will secure access to power in the years to come. Something can be done by streamlining energy, something by modernizing power plants and implementing already planned and approved power development. But, if we are to gain access to large amounts of power, more must also be developed. When we see the debate about wind power, we understand that this requires political courage.

Gotaas and Staff are also completely in line with the desire to put in place a national electrification strategy for the whole country.

– Foreign owners do not choose Norway because of nature, fjords and mountains. In order to have a reasonable price, we must have too much power, not just enough, says Gotaas.

NVE director Kjetil Lund says in an E24 podcast that “we all want a lot of renewable energy to electrify, cut emissions and facilitate new industry. Furthermore, to avoid power development and low electricity prices. We can have two of these desires, not all three. It is not my job, but the task of politics to make the choices. “

“Watt if?”


– If the politicians agree that the proposition is acceptable , they can just sit back and let the market sort things out. But I think the power produced will prove to be too expensive, ergo creating unprofitable industry: An industry that moves out of Grenland, out of the county and out of Norway, says Gotaas.

Gotaas believes that the discussion about whether we have enough power to face future demands must be given priority.
– We must agree on whether we have enough power or not, he states.
Gotaas is a member of the process industry’s forum, Process 21, that includes the group Kraft. A separate power report has been presented here, in which they shed light on the lack of power in the future.

“Net Work”


Staff and Gotaas agree that we will have challenges with the industry net. Not least because net development takes time, with local consultations and many involved.
– This is a democratic process and people must be consulted before expanding technical facilities, Staff emphasizes.

Nevertheless, he believes it is possible to achieve more efficient methods for case processing that provide shorter lead times for necessary expansions.

– There is defiantly a great political engagement to electrify the industry, so this passing is abosolutly necessary, says Staff.

On the same team and better equipped than others

– The Telemark region along with Herøya is a powerhouse for industry in Norway. Furthermore, what is exceptional is that we have the prerequisites to maintain this position. We are conveniently located close to the main grid, and there is a good dialogue between power and industry. Those who produce and distribute green power to the industry, welcome the industrial development of Herøya and Gotaa, says a committed Staff.

– There will be new industrial development, more job opportunities and increased value creation. Together we will go through this transition to greener practices – and manage to meet the climate goals. We area in complete agreement on that, concludes Sverre Gotaas and Jens Bjørn Staff.

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