German and Norwegian Energy Ministers Discuss Norwegian Gas Supply and Nord.Link Interconnector

German Minister of Economic Affairs and Energy, Sigmar Gabriel, discussed the German Energiewende (energy policy shift towards a renewable energy supply) and Norwegian energy policy with Norwegian Minister of Petroleum and Energy Tord Lien last Friday. Mr Gabriel stressed the importance of Norwegian natural gas for Germany’s security of supply. Talks focused on current projects, gas supply relations and the German-Norwegian see power cable project Nord.Link.

Mr Gabriel called Norway an important and reliable energy partner and praised the transparent way in in Norwegian crude oil and natural gas exploration rights were awarded, including to German companies. Norway is Germany’s second-most important supplier of natural gas after Russia. Of the 89% of natural gas that Germany imports, 30% are supplied by Norway (36% by Russia and 20% by the Netherlands, according to data by the Federal Statistical Office, cf. page 8 of the link). In view of Crimean developments, Chancellor Merkel had said recently that Europe, which heavily depends on Russian gas (and oil) had to reconsider its energy policy.

Regarding the Nord.Link subsea power cable linking Germany and Norway, Mr Gabriel pointed out that is was in the common interest of both countries that the project consortium comprised of Norwegian Statnett and Dutch/German TSO Tennet and the state-owned German KfW development bank took the final investment decision in 2014 as planned. Mr Gabriel pledged unconditional support for the project, saying the necessary German permits would be granted by summer, authorization by the German power regulator, the Federal Network Agency (BNetzA), was about to be given. Now it was important that the Norwegian ministry granted the necessary licences to Statnett by summer so that the project, which was mutually important for both countries, could move ahead, Mr Gabriel added.

The Nord.Link interconnector project shall link Wilster in Schleswig-Holstein (Germany) with Tonstad in Vest-Agder (Norway) by a 1,400 MW HVDC subsea power cable by the end of 2018. The cable shall help improve the distribution of in particular renewable energy sources between the two nations, i.e. German wind and solar power and Norwegian hydro power. Investment costs are estimated to be in the range of EUR 1.5 to 2 billion (for more information, please see here and the link below). Nord.Link figures on the list of 248 key energy infrastructure projects, labelled “projects of common interest” (PCI), which the European Commission adopted on 14 October 2013.

Source:  Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi)

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