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Norsk Hydro Defends Status of Planned Norway-EU Power Cables

Planned power cables linking Norway to Germany and the U.K. must not be reserved for state ownership, according to Norsk Hydro ASA, Norway’s largest private electricity producer.

A government proposal for state ownership “goes too far,” Morten Roesaeg, director of energy supply and development at Norsk Hydro, Norway’s second-biggest hydropower producer and the country’s largest power user, said today in a response published on the oil and energy ministry’s website.

The Norwegian government said all cross-border power cables from Norway should be under state ownership through grid company Statnett SF, in a public consultation on proposals to amend the energy act, posted on the website on Sept. 18.

NorthConnect, owned by Sweden’s Vattenfall AB and the U.K.’s SSE Plc, as well as Norway’s E-CO Energi AS, Agder Energi AS and Lyse Energi AS, plans to build a 1,400-megawatt cable linking Norway to the U.K. by 2020.

A growing power surplus in the region means that cables to EU countries may be used for “commercial purposes”, to strike profits from power exports, a function which is ill-suited for a publicly owned grid operator and better fits private companies, Norsk Hydro said in the response to the consultation which will end on Nov. 16.

More than 50 terawatt-hours of new annual output through 2017 may push down Nordic power prices, Per Lekander, an analyst at UBS AG bank, said on Oct. 2 by telephone. The projected generation compares with annual Danish power demand of 34.4 terawatt-hours.

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