Norwegian Wind Power Could Become Europe's Battery

What's the best thing you could buy with oil money right now?

Norway's Oil and Energy Minister, Aaslaug Haga, seems to think that wind turbines is a good bet. The scandinavian country is the 5th biggest exporter of oil in the world, but it also has the longest coastline in Europe and lots of strong wind. A 30-page report vy the Energy Council, comprising business leaders and officials, says: "Norway ought to have access to up to 40 terrawatt hours of renewable energy in 2020-2025, of which about half would come from offshore wind power."

Turning Oil Into Renewable Energy

Sufficient wind parks -- totalling 5,000 to 8,000 megawatts installed capacity -- would cost between 100 billion Norwegian and 220 billion Norwegian crowns ($43.89 billion) assuming prices of 20-28 million crowns per installed megawatt. The energy would be equivalent to up to about eight nuclear power plants.

That's a lot of money, but that's also the value of about half a year's oil output for Norway. It would be kind of a giant offset scheme.

Wind Power Even When the Wind Doesn't Blow

One thing that makes Norway - like Quebec - particularly well suited for wind power is the presence of hydro. When the wind blows, you can slow down the flow of water and accumulate it behind the dams, and when the wind doesn't blow, you can open up the valves. And since Norway has about half of Europe's reservoir capacity, it could keep producing even with long periods without wind (which is fairly rare offshore).

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More on Norway's Wind Power Project
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Tags: Alternative Energy | Energy | Norway | Scandinavia | Wind Power