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The political feasibility of Norway as the 'green battery' of Europe

Anne Therese Gullberg

Norway has great potential for producing pumped-storage hydropower, and the European Union (EU) hope Norway can contribute to Europe’s transition to a renewable energy system by serving as a ‘green battery’. This is certainly technically feasible. However, this paper asks whether the green battery idea is politically feasible. The paper analyses four scenarios, three of which Norway serves as a green battery and one domestic. It focuses on decision-makers’ and interest groups’ positions on new interconnectors from Norway to continental Europe and the United Kingdom (UK), pumped-storage hydropower, and new renewable energy production in Norway. The paper argues that the present policy is characterised by incremental change—decisions about new interconnectors are made on an individual basis. Moreover the paper argues there is little reason to believe that this status quo policy will change based on any of the green battery scenarios in the near term. Still, decision-makers and interest groups are positive, in principle, towards new interconnectors and pumped-storage hydropower. Hence, Norway might become a green battery in the longer term. In the short term, however, a politically feasible contribution from Norway is balancing power through already existing hydropower capacity

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