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Highlights from Arendalsuka

Andreas Bjelland Eriksen (AP)  and Karianne Kojen Andersen (GCE Ocean Technology)
Andreas Bjelland Eriksen (AP) and Karianne Kojen Andersen (GCE Ocean Technology).

Close to 100,000 people are expected to have "danced on the dance floor of democracy" at Arendalsuka this year, the most important meeting place for politics, business, and media.

Here are a few highlights in words and pictures:

Green pilots to market

Several cases of green promising pilots aimed primarily at the offshore wind and hydrogen markets were highlighted at our event about, showcasing strategies for securing financing for green pilots and avoiding the biggest hurdles.

Anders Lundquist presented the Deep Purple Energy system and debated the challenges for accelerating implementation of a clean hydrogen industry.

"A broad approach is necessary with attention all the way from stimulating demand, incentivizing renewable power expansion & adding electrolyzer capacity, investments in infrastructure and streamlining regulatory requirements. The industry is ready but a coordinated strategy is necessary to avoid pockets and potential stranded assets." Lunquist wrote in his LinkedIn post following the event.

A common theme across the cases was the need to carefully understand market needs before beginning product development. This ensures a strong market base right from the outset, helping businesses avoid unnecessary costs and commitments.

Still, the question remained if established companies lack effective public incentives?

The big offshore wind meeting

Not surprisingly action, action, action was the mantra at this event as stated by Monica Mæland (Bergen Næringsråd) and Owe Hagesæther (GCE Ocean Technology).

"We agree that we should invest in offshore wind, but we have some disagreements on how," said Andreas Bjelland Eriksen (AP) and Nikolai Astrup (H). The challenges they mention include the cost situation, much of which stems from the fundamental changes in supply lines after Russia's innovation in Ukraine, project profitability, and how best to facilitate offshore wind while maintaining existing petroleum installations.

Developers Equinor, Deepwind Offshore, and Mainstream Renewable Power also call for action:

"We will still be impatient, but we must also be realistic that there is no quick fix," said Knut Vassbotn, CEO of Deepwind Offshore. "I think as developers, we also need to take responsibility for reducing the cost structure, for example by collaborating on standardization," says Siri Espedal Kindem, Director of Renewables at Equinor.

Moreover, Karianne Kojen Andersen, Innovation Manager in GCE Ocean Technology led a discussion on a national competence boost for offshore wind hosted by among others GCE Node, Fremtidends Havvind and partners.

I am looking forward to continued collaboration on how we can bring out the best in each other, Karianne Kojen Andersen, Innovation Manager, GCE Ocean Technology.

From cluster to supercluster

The initiative to form a supercluster from the three West Coast clusters; Energy Transition Norway, GCE Blue Maritime and GCE Ocean Technology, received high praise from the CEO of Innovation Norway, Håkon Haugli.

A supercluster is intended to help members more extensively with exports and green solutions. Haugli believed that this is the right development for mature and experienced large export clusters.

Professor Torger Reve, known as the "father of clusters," acknowledged the initiative and its results so far, stating that it is the correct development. He commended the three clusters for their work.

Christian Rangen, one of the country's experts on international clusters, said that this was important work and initiative in line with the developments in other leading countries like Canada and Denmark.

More knowledge about marine minerals

Minerals are key to realise the energy transition, and seabed minerals are currently explored by several nations as a source to diversify and secure critical minerals.

State secretary Andreas Bjelland Eriksen (Ap) presented the parliamentary notice where they suggest opening for the industry to take part in the further exploration activities.

Different panels debated various aspects of the industry. All seemed to agree that more knowledge is needed to better quantify environmental aspects, resource potential and technological solutions. A key question moving forward is the order of sequence and whether the industry should be invited to take part in the future exploration activities or not.

The industry is ready to embark on the challenge. The environmental organisations says no.

It is now up to the Norwegian parliament (Stortinget) to decide the next steps forward in spring 2024.

A great social-business arena

– The great thing about Arendalsuka is that there are so many events from different communities that we normally don’t get a chance to attend in our ocean-based work lives, says Kai Stoltz, Business Development Manager in GCE Ocean Technology.

– For instance, nuclear radiation and human rights combined with political debates. This is an inspirational and great opportunity to broaden the horizon and see the bigger picture.

We would like to thank all we met, our collaborators, those who hosted great events and those who contributed to our events during Arendalsuka - lets walk the talk.

Contact Information

Owe Hagesæther

Chief Executive Officer

Owe Hagesæther

Kai Stoltz

Business Development Manager

Kai Stoltz

Karianne Kojen Andersen

Innovation Manager

Karianne Kojen Andersen

Thea Båtevik

Innovation Consultant

Thea Båtevik

Jon O. Hellevang

R&D Manager

Jon O. Hellevang