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Norway-EU Power Cables Should Remain in Private Hands, BKK Says

Planned power cables linking Norway to Germany and the U.K. must be kept open to private investors, according to BKK AS, Norway’s fifth-biggest power producer.

A government proposal for state ownership is “unnecessary and unfortunate,” Tonny Nundal, a spokesman at Bergenshalvoeens Kommunale Kraftselskap BKK AS, said in a response on a government consultation website dated Nov. 16.

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

“The most important thing is to secure construction, it is less important who owns and operates the cables,” said BKK, which has an average annual output of 6.7 terawatt-hours.

A monopoly for Statnett may trigger “inadvisable cost incentives”, while more merchant cables would be welcome “in principle”, Stein Lier-Hansen, managing director of the Federation of Norwegian Industries, said in a statement dated Nov. 15.

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, aim to build a 1,400-megawatt cable linking Norway to the U.K. by 2020.

Statnett is part of a group that plans to build a 1,400-megawatt undersea cable from Germany to Norway by 2018, followed by a 1,400-megawatt link to the U.K. in 2020. Both cables are intended to allow Norway to export excess hydropower output and allow Germany and the U.K. to offset intermittent production from wind and solar power, according to the company.

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