”Expanding the grid is essential if we are to reach our climate objectives and keep the global rise in temperatures below two degrees Celsius. However, this must be done without harming the natural environment. This is possible. We are pleased that Statnett has committed to reducing the negative impact of their activities through this agreement, and that they are committed to reducing the need for new infrastructure by promoting energy efficiency and a smarter use of energy,” says Secretary General of WWF Rasmus Hansson.

Statnett and their European sister companies will sign a joint declaration with a number of Norwegian and European environmentalist groups including Zero, WWF and Bellona at the European Parliament in Brussels on Thursday this week. The declaration is a part of the Renewables Grid Initiative (RGI) and commits all parties to establishing common objectives and priorities for an efficient development of the main grid, whilst ensuring that biodiversity and transparency are maintained. EU Energy Commissioner Gunther Oettinger will attend the signing conference, demonstrating full EU endorsement of the collaboration.

”Signing this declaration will help generate support from grid owners and environmental organisations alike for the priorities that will form the backbone of our development projects. By doing so, Statnett wishes to establish an open and inclusive debate which in turn will contribute to a more efficient licensing process and thus achieve wider local and national acceptance,” says Auke Lont.

”The agreement demonstrates a fresh approach to energy development; an approach which puts the environment first. Together the environmental organisations and grid companies will commit to ensuring that new power lines are constructed only when absolutely necessary, that power lines will be installed together with existing lines whenever possible, that the impact on the environment is minimised by avoiding the most vulnerable areas and by implementing environmental initiatives in the areas where construction does take place,” says Hansson of the WWF.

”In order to facilitate the development of renewable energy the grid must be strengthened and developed. This declaration has shown that the energy sector and environmentalist organisations do not necessarily have conflicting interests,” Lont concludes.

Renewables Grid Initiative (RGI) is an association of European system operators including Statnett, the Belgian system operator Elia, British National Grid, Spanish REE, French RTE, Swiss Swissgrid, Dutch TenneT, Italian Terna and German 50Hertz. Other RGI members include a number of environmental organisations such as BirdLife Europe, Deutsche Umwelthilfe, Friends of the Earth Europe, Friends of the Earth Scotland, Germanwatch, Greenpeace Europe, Natuur en Milieu, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, WWF and European Climate Foundation, Friends of the Supergrid and SEFEP. Together they will ensure a speedy expansion of the European main grid, whilst securing public support and preservation of the natural environment. 

Contacts:
WWF: Nina Jensen, Conservation Director, tel. +47  991 69 694
Statnett: Tor Inge Akselsen, Senior Vice President, International Public Affairs, tel. +47 95 07 95 20