Jonas Gahr Støre says he does not have “billions in his back pocket” this autumn for CO₂ capture in Oslo. But he is considering giving some state money now, so the project does not have to wait another six months for the EU.
After the EU last year refused to provide billions in support for a plant for CO capture at the incineration plant at Klemetsrud in Oslo, the entire project is in danger.
Thus, many billions of kroner are missing beyond what the state and the owners have previously promised to contribute.
The facility would not been fully funded, even with EU support.
Oslo Municipality and the Finnish energy company Fortum each own 50 per cent of the company Fortum Oslo Varme.
No EU support for CO2 capture at Klemetsrud
Støre does not have cash in his pocket
Without a capture facility at Klemetsrud, Oslo Municipality will not be able to achieve its goals of reducing the city’s CO₂ emissions.
We are therefore working hard to find a solution.
But a quick one, where the state all this autumn flips up for all the money that is missing, is not realistic.
– I do not have three billion in my back pocket to throw into the budget negotiations. We must talk thoroughly about this with Fortum, Oslo Municipality and the industrial players.
This is what Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre (Labor Party) said from the stage Zero-conference Wednesday.
Without start-up money after EU no
Minister of Petroleum and Energy Marte Mjøs Persen (Labor Party) has signaled that Fortum Oslo Varme should apply to the EU again. The EU will distribute new billions to climate projects in the summer of 2022.
But without money from the EU now, the project is put on hold. Fortum Oslo Varme says they do not have the money to start.
Fears competence flight
City councilor Raymond Johansen (Labor Party) also sees it can be difficult to keep the project group at Klemetsrud:
– To lean alone on the EU’s innovation fund, I do not think is right. We are dependent on retaining the staff at Fortum Oslo Varme who work on the project.
– You can not keep people walking on grass with good words and good intentions, Johansen adds.
But then the question is who will turn up the money now, the state or the owners?
– We are working hard against the company, against Fortum and against the state to find solutions, the city council leader answers.
The longship budget close to disaster after barely a year
Slip on some money now
Even though Støre does not have “billions in his back pocket”, he opens the door wide open so that the state can give some money now. So that the plant is not delayed by at least another six months.
– Are there opportunities for earlier funding from the state so they get started?
– We are in talks with them about it now. Then we’ll see, Støre answers.
At the same time, Støre argues that more than money is needed. He says that the government is working for a broader solution industrially.
In practice, the latter is probably about how much space the EU should provide for the capture and storage of CO₂. And perhaps also about establishing an EU system for the sale of allowances for CO2 from waste of biological origin.
Finder EU rejection
For there to be any point in applying for the EU again, the EU’s assessment should have been positive, despite the rejection.
Therefore, the EU’s rejection is now being carefully reviewed by the project group at Fortum Oslo Varme.
– We are still working on an internal assessment of whether we want to apply again. (…) This decision has not yet been made.
Jannicke Gerner Bjerås, director of CO₂ capture at Fortum Oslo Varme, writes in an e-mail.