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Norway embarks on mission improbable

August 21, 2017

By Paul Homewood



Jillian Ambrose is away with the fairies again!




By Jillian Ambrose

The stench of tons of compressed waste is something you get used to. High above the warehouse floor, tightly packed bales of British rubbish are stacked and waiting to be burned, across the North Sea from the homes in Bristol and Birmingham that produced them.

In a modern plant wedged between pine and granite on the edge of Oslo, Nordic power company Fortum is using British rubbish to generate electricity and warmth for a nearby district-heating project. This energy- from-waste plant alone incinerates 45 tons of rubbish at 850 degrees Celsius every hour.

“It’s the smell of money,” laughs Pal Mikkelsen, the plant’s director.

For years Norway has charged British cities to take their waste while creating a valuable source of heat and energy on the side. Now it has plans to create a third source of income from UK rubbish.

Mikkelsen is eager to explain how the work being done at his plant could play a role in helping his country take Britain’s carbon emissions too.

The Fortum plant is vying with other high-carbon industrial players to be part of a radical national programme to turn carbon capture into a new pan-European industry, with Norway in the driving seat.



Norway’s plans are audacious. Its government believes that within the next five years it will be able to develop a system to rid the whole of Europe of its unwanted carbon emissions.


Under the scheme, CO2 from factories all across Europe could soon be piped on to ships and brought to Norway. Cutting-edge carbon storage sites will then inject the gas deep into salt caverns under the seabed.

The individual elements of this chain are technically proven but carbon capture and storage (CCS) has so far failed to gain traction across Europe. Investors have balked at the eye-wateringly high costs and daunting risks. Governments, too, have quickly lost their nerve.

It is almost two years since the UK Government abruptly pulled the plug on £1bn worth of funding for two major CCS power plant projects backed by some of the biggest energy companies in Europe, for instance.

Norway believes that by pushing ahead with its own CCS plans the technology may find its way back on to the agenda. This could provide a new industrial avenue for the country in a similar way that Britain’s rubbish helped create an energy-from-waste industry.

The Norwegian “CCS Highway” has a better chance of success in large part by circumventing the need to court nervous investors. It benefits from direct government funding.

The industrial partners taking part in the first phase of the scheme will be responsible for upgrading their plants to trap CO2. The state will take on the considerable risk involved in creating a transport and storage network, however.

This will include gas-carrying ships, subsea pipelines and a storage facility some 40 miles off the coast of Norway, in saline caverns beneath the seabed. The set-up bill is estimated at €1.4bn (£1.2bn) and the system is expected to cost €100m a year to operate.




The Norwegians are of course hoping that the EU, including the UK is potty enough to pay a fortune to bury their CO2 in this way. But does anybody really expect the likes of China, India and all of the other upcoming economies to follow suit?

The end result will be inevitable – the European industrial economy will continue to disappear down the drain pipe.



This excellent comment from Jonathan Spencer sums the whole thing up:

jonathan spencer 20 Aug 2017 10:29PM

“Under the scheme, CO2 from factories all across Europe could soon be piped on to ships and brought to Norway. Cutting-edge carbon storage sites will then inject the gas deep into salt caverns under the seabed.”…”Its government believes that within the next five years it will be able to develop a system to rid the whole of Europe of its unwanted carbon emissions.”

This scheme is about as stupid as it gets, ranking right up there with the vacuous Miliband’s plan for a Personal Carbon Credit scheme.

So European politicians are prepared to waste what will have to be billions of euros in a whole new infrastructure to collect CO2, process it, ship and store it underground. Quite apart form the phenomenal physical resources required to carry out this European wide process, it is difficult to see how this extremely complex set of transactions will reduce overall carbon emissions and the initial cost of emissions in the infrastructure will consume many years of carbon captured, probably never achieving payback. This is just another gigantic con trick perpetrated on the plebs in the very long list of gigantic cons in the global CO2 scam.

Of all the investments in infrastructure we desperately need in the UK, CCS is way, way down the list in utility, payback and need. Far more important, for example, is the need to improve significantly the UK’s security of energy supply and energy efficiency which is pathetic in this country, especially in the public sector itself. Successive governments and the completely and utterly useless senior civil servants in the energy departments need a complete change of mindset and should start dealing with real world practical problems instead of throwing huge sums of money at problems which do not exist.

Outrage was quite rightly expressed at the many failings of government at all levels in respect of the Grenfell Tower disaster but there is a much greater disaster that occurs every winter and that is the avoidable deaths of many thousands of people from hypothermia, primarily due to a complete lack of a viable energy policy in this country and that has been the case for at least twenty years. What can you do with a government that would rather spend a colossal sum of money each year chasing a nonsensical carbon emissions reduction target, rather than ensuring that many of its citizens do not die because of the high price of energy, which is a direct result of that government’s policy?

The French have been very vocal about punishing the UK for Brexit. Well, let’s hope they don’t include in that punishment switching off the Interconnector in the next cold snap just because they can. We’ll see then the foolhardiness of basing an energy policy on reducing CO2 emissions (with zero effect on global emissions by the way for all the many billions we have thrown down the drain in respect of this).

  1. richard verney permalink
    August 21, 2017 10:20 am

    When i lived in Norway in the 1980s, my girlfriend’s apartment was heated by hot water generated at a nearby waste disposal plant.

    This plant provided hot water and free central heating to a very large housing estate (probably several).

    • Steve borodin permalink
      August 21, 2017 5:57 pm

      Not unknown in the uk either. Batteries power station circa 1930 (I think).

    • The Rick permalink
      August 22, 2017 7:01 pm

      Now only if emissions mattered. 0.04% of a gas heating the planet? ponderous!
      Shall I bottle my farts and submit to the Danes for sequestration?

    • Anders Valland permalink
      August 23, 2017 7:34 am

      That would have been a rare thing back in the 80’s. Actually, it is only since about 2005 that a few Norwegian regions have mandated the use of central heating based on waste heat recovery from industrial plants. Most Norwegian homes, office and industry buildings are heated by electricity. Historically we have had an abundance of cheap hydroelectric power available, so much so that our total power consumption is at 67% renewable. The electric part is at 99% renewable.

      Still, our stupid politicians have signed on to an agreement with the EU to cut our emissions by 40%. We don’t have carbon intensive industry to cut, unlike the rest of Europe….

  2. Graeme No.3 permalink
    August 21, 2017 10:35 am

    Not unknown in Denmark either. Indeed the use of hot water using normally waste heat from gas and coal fired power stations is one of the ways Denmark has reduced its emissions.

    This use is helped by burning domestic rubbish and wood pellets being exempt from counting under EU mission rules. Nevertheless one coal fired power station is reckoned to have achieved over 90% efficiency by using its (normally) waste heat to warm nearby houses, roads, sports fields and a swimming pool. Now if only they used wood pellets like Drax they would be hailed as heroes of CO2 reduction!

    • August 21, 2017 10:55 am

      And heros of deforestation.

    • August 21, 2017 11:00 am

      I clicked on the photo. Seems this is NOT suburban Denmark, but rather what the US would call “summer homes”. These are NOT year round dwellings, according to the reddit post. This is not an example of anything but propaganda.

      • Graeme No.3 permalink
        August 21, 2017 11:29 am

        Yet I first struck them as an example of small scale CHP where both electricity and heat were supplied to customers within a short distance of the central generator. I recently received the photo for about the third time by e-mail without any comment.
        Still, Denmark has over 600 small CHP units hiding somewhere.

      • August 21, 2017 12:31 pm

        Graeme No.3: I see your example as being equivalent to the claim that wind and solar provide electricity for “x” households. It’s only true when the wind blows and the sun shines. Heating and electricity provided to part-time residences is quite different from supplying homes full time. Small CHP units do have uses. It’s better than wasting the heat. However, it’s limited in scope.

        (The “headline” says Suburban Denmark.)

  3. August 21, 2017 10:44 am

    That’s an excellent comment from Johnathan Spencer. It neatly sums up how stupid our politicians and top civil servants have been for 20 years.

    The stupidity will only get worse if Corbyn, and his magic money tree carefully tended by Diane Abbott, ever gets his hands on the reins of Government.

    • August 21, 2017 10:57 am

      Governments are elected. If the government is stupid, that would appear to be because those who vote them in are stupid. (Yes, that applies to the US, too, and all other countries who vote in their representatives. If we did not want stupid leaders, we wouldn’t have them.)

      • August 21, 2017 11:15 am

        I agree. I did not vote for any of the political parties that have been in power in the UK in the last 20 years. We also have no say in what civil “servants” are in control.

      • Dung permalink
        August 21, 2017 1:26 pm

        We have stupid leaders because right now there are no sensible leaders available to elect

      • Gerry, England permalink
        August 21, 2017 1:52 pm

        Couldn’t agree more, Sheri. The vast majority of people are generally ignorant and so they elect ignorant governments. There is a debate running in the comments on today as to who has responsibility for providing information following our referendum campaign of lies and ignorance from both sides, aided and abetted by our media. With the interent, accessing knowledge has never been easier. Look at what we can learn here on Paul’s site. But if people won’t make the effort and bleat ‘I’m not interested’ perhaps it is time that their vote was removed. Perhaps there should be an examination before you can be eligible to vote.

      • August 22, 2017 10:42 pm

        Bingo. Nail on the head. seems the dumbing down of our education is paying dividends with a whole section of the population averse to thinking.

  4. August 21, 2017 11:05 am

    I just hope that someone takes the trouble to work out the thermodynamic balance in this CO2 capturing process. It takes energy to: Isolate the CO2 from other gasses, Compress/ cool it into a transportable state and then pump down to the high pressure environment in the ground. Add to this the energy used to build and maintain the infrastructure to enable this and I suspect little will be gained in energy terms as one is left to ask how all this energy is to be provided. Will it be from some purported infinite supply of Renewables? Or will good old fossil fuels have to take the strain and produce as much CO2 as gets sequestered?
    And lastly – all to what end or benefit?

  5. Joe Public permalink
    August 21, 2017 11:11 am

    The only part of Jillian’s story is the proposed CCS bit?

    Motorists driving along the north-east section of the North Circular since 1971 cannot fail to have noticed the chimney of the Edmonton incinerator.

    Decades later it was rechristened with a trendy new name: London EcoPark.

  6. HotScot permalink
    August 21, 2017 11:30 am

    Staggeringly, unbelievably, incredibly, incompetent, alarmist reporting.

    And the real alarm is that IF it were possible to store CO2 at a reasonable cost, and IF CO2 is responsible for global warming (which it isn’t) these morons want to deprive plants of the single most important nutrient necessary for growth. That will reversing the incredible greening of the planet over the last 30 years and risk crop production falling.

    The planet would become cooler threatening another ice age which would exacerbate falling crop production. And at what levels do these morons imagine CO2 should be at? 280ppm? as it was before the industrial revolution, or perhaps, frighteningly, even lower?

    Meanwhile the human race would face rising energy prices, whilst needing more energy for heating, transportation (including all electric cars) and industry.

    And back in the real world, with China and India building some 1200 coal fired power stations over the coming decades, just how much CO2 will need to be extracted from the atmosphere to balance that growth?

    Journalists like these should be hauled across the coals by their editors for idiotic, irresponsible and incompetent reporting.

    But of course, they’ll allow any old codswallop to be published just to sell their manky rags. What’s worse is that climate change isn’t the only subject they make stories up for the readers of their comics, every other subject we can imagine is subject to this type of reporting by these cretins.

    • Gerry, England permalink
      August 21, 2017 1:55 pm

      You are making the big assumption that the editors these days are any more knowledgeable. The Telegraph is something of a joke these days.

  7. August 21, 2017 11:35 am

    Reblogged this on WeatherAction News and commented:
    As long as stupid people are willing to pay, expect only stupid solutions

  8. Andrew permalink
    August 21, 2017 11:37 am

    The south east London combined heat and power plant (SELCHP) has been burning waste for electricity, and hot water for the local community for over 26 years. We have lots of plants burning waste (domestic and sewage) for power and others getting energy from sewage visa bacterial digestion and burning the methane for electricity. It’s very nice but a complete side show to the real issues.

  9. CheshireRed permalink
    August 21, 2017 12:49 pm

    Too stupid for words.

  10. August 21, 2017 1:15 pm

    CCS must be a tricky one for watermelons. Suppose it works, and there is no longer an issue to burn coal, gas and diesel, large fossil fuel corporations remain top dog, no need for wind/solar and Big Green collapses.

    • August 21, 2017 1:27 pm

      Not a problem for the watermelons climanrecon. All they will do is to officially classify CCS fossil fuel plants as biomass equivalent, to be used only as Renewable backup.

  11. Dung permalink
    August 21, 2017 1:31 pm

    CCS has not happened because nobody has made it work, we must thank whatever deities we worship for this fact ^.^
    I am thanking my glass of Skol 🙂

    • Gerry, England permalink
      August 21, 2017 1:56 pm

      Skol? Should I join you with a tasty pint of Watneys Red Barrel?

      • Joe Public permalink
        August 21, 2017 3:07 pm

        Ah, Watneys. The pubs where you only rented your beer.

      • tom0mason permalink
        August 21, 2017 3:33 pm


      • tom0mason permalink
        August 21, 2017 3:37 pm

        Though on second thought I’ll have a half of

      • Gerry, England permalink
        August 22, 2017 12:36 pm

        I was tickled to see that sales of cider from Magners are down – hopefully included that horrible fruit muck they serve with ice cubes – due to a surge in the sales of craft beers. Even the national brands are taking a hit and I recall a quote that nobody would consider launching a national ale brand any more.

  12. John Palmer permalink
    August 21, 2017 5:12 pm

    Aah, the memories!
    1s 5d per pint, Watneys ‘Special Mild’ was when I started on the slippery slope in 1963. (for our younger viewers, that’s about 8p).
    That was in the dark ages, when good traditional brewers were being forced out of business by the likes of Watneys, Whitbread, Friary Meux and Ind Coop. The brilliant campaigning by Camra back then is largely responsible for the excellence and diversity of our beers nowadays. It was a very close thing!
    Also – and a bit later – in the late60’s, early ’70’s Camra produced a Star Wars (?) inspired beer mat inscribed ‘DD=K9P’ (that was Double Diamond, Ind Coop’s ghastly pressure driven, gassy p**s).

    • Dung permalink
      August 21, 2017 7:02 pm

      We have younger viewers???

    • tom0mason permalink
      August 22, 2017 12:55 am

      So you were never a Tankard man then? (the pint that thinks it’s a half was our joke).
      Or how about “Take Courage!” With the effect the next day you had to take courage to ever drink it again.

      • Dung permalink
        August 22, 2017 9:19 am

        If you mean Whitbread Tankard then no 🙂 I have always been a beer drinker never a spirits person and I have fond memories of McKewans Heavy on draft at some pub in the back of beyond up North. Now I am oldert (but no wiser) so I drink weak Skol hehe.

    • Gerry, England permalink
      August 22, 2017 12:41 pm

      The irony – bitter probably – is that Ind Coope Burton Ale won champion beer of Britain in 1990 and then slide gradually out of existence via contract brewing. It was the first Big Six beer to win and showed that it was possible. As we had a Friary Muck pub in my old village I was partial to a few Burton Ales in my time.

  13. Bitter&twisted permalink
    August 21, 2017 9:59 pm

    What’s the odds that SebastianH thinks this crock is a great idea?

  14. LES JOHNSON permalink
    August 22, 2017 8:02 am

    One has to admire the sheer audacity of the Norwegians.

    In effect, they are going to try and have Europe pay for increasing oil production.

    Injecting CO2 into an oil zone is form of tertiary recovery.

    “Give us your CO2, and a boatload of money, and we will happily inject that CO2 into an oil zone. Don’t worry about the extra oil produced. We look after that, no extra charge!”

    • Gerry, England permalink
      August 22, 2017 12:42 pm

      While the plant in the US that was doing just what they proposed has stopped on cost grounds.

    • Anders Valland permalink
      August 23, 2017 7:14 am

      Hehehe, that would indeed be a good scam. However, the oil fields we are producing already give off more gas than we need to inject for increased oil recovery (IOR), so the collected CO2 in this scheme is not useful in that regard. These people actually think it is a good idea to capture and store the CO2. Period. No hidden IOR in all of this.

  15. prismsuk permalink
    August 22, 2017 1:06 pm

    The construction cost of a 220 MW Small Modular Reactor is under 1/5th of that for equivalent offshore wind farms and so should be just as easy, or even easier, to finance. It should overcome, what was shown to be, an almost insurmountable obstacle with Hinkley.

    A converse way of thinking about it is that we could get over 5X more low-carbon electricity for our money.

    All we’ve got to do is convince investment fund managers and entrepreneurs that this is the way to go and get at all of that financing being wasted on renewable [and maybe future CC&S]. Politicians will follow the money and the first SMR sites in the nuclear-welcoming communities will soon start to affect public mindsets.

    Anyone out there in the investment business or investors with access to their fund managers have a long, hard look at the future for SMRs. If you are concerned about meeting our mandatory carbon targets or the the waste of precious resources, environmental, ecosystem and species destruction wrought by renewables – then get your money into those prominent SMR companies.


  1. Norway embarks on mission improbable – Counter Factual

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