Until recently, the gas power plant at Kårstø was able to produce 3TWh of electric power based on the burning of 6 TWh of natural gas, at full production.
Statoil and Statkraft have made enormous investments in gas pipes, the gas power plant itself and the power line network connecting it to the regional and national grid. It has been clear for several years that this is not an efficient way to produce electric power.
Nor have investments been made in CO2 cleaning at the power plant, which was a precondition set by the Storting when it gave permission for its construction.
On the basis of the price of natural gas paid by the owners of the power plant, the prevailing electricity rates, and the investment necessary for the gas power plant, it became impossible to generate a profit.
Although thousands of man-labour years were spent by numerous subcontractors building the gas power plant and the necessary infrastructure, there are now no man-labour years left.
In with wind power
During the same period as the gas power plant is being phased out, there is now emission free electric power capacity being built in Rogaland corresponding to 3TWh – i.e. the same amount as the production capacity of the Kårstø plant. It doesn't provide many jobs during the construction phase, but it is on the other hand more sustainable, with no emission of CO2 in the operational phase.
Since the gas power plant released approximately 1 million tons CO2 annually when it was fully operational, the new wind energy, in interaction with hydro power, constitutes a climate cut of 1 million tons per year.
Rogaland, the Energy County, is showing that it is possible to take an important step away from fossil to renewable energy production, and at the same time build profitable jobs and cut emissions in line with the targets of the Paris Agreement, all within the framework of the carbon budget.