The High North Tour 2021: In Berlevåg, There is A Dream about A Hydrogen Factory

Kjell Richardsen and Berlevåg municipality were early in the game with plans about a hydrogen facotyr. Optimism is still intact, even though there are major obstacles to conquer before the factory becomes a reality. (Photo: Arne O. Holm)

Berlevåg: He can barely stand still, Kjell Richardsen, while he describes the visions for a hydrogen factory in Berlevåg, on the northernmost top of Norway. Yet before the factory is finished, both the municipality and the local power company have some obstacles to conquer.

For a whole decade, Berlevåg municipality Business Developer Kjell Richardsen has dreamed about a hydrogen factory in the municipality. He was, in other words, early in the game with an industry vision that later has popped up also many other places in Norway.

If he gets his way, the hydrogen factory will be just a small part of an industrial park that is to turn a rather brutal negative population figure spiral in the fishery municipality in the northeastern most part of Norway around.

A post by CEO Terje Skansen at the local power plant’s home pages the other day nevertheless demonstrates that the road to get there may be a long and winding one.

Obstacles ahead

A crucial point is the fact that the local power company Varanger Kraft is granted exemption from the Ministry of Oil and Energy for its continued development of wind power, after Parliament previously decided to rescind wind power licenses where development had not commenced by the end of 2021, a decision made to halt previously unused and with time controversial licenses granted before.

Arnes-turnékar-Berlevåg. The High North Tour 2021.

Berlevåg: The High North Tour 2021. (Grafikk: Iris Ørnhaug/Nord universitet)

Berlevåg: The High North Tour 2021. (Illustration: Iris Ørnhaug/Nord University)

The Raggo 3 project, which is the wind power project related to the hydrogen factory in Berglevåg, is controversial too, even locally.

The open letter from the CEO also makes it clear that funding is not in place yet.

Varanger Kraft has entered into cooperation with Aker, however, no investment decision will be made until 2nd quarter of 2022. In clear writing, this means that the project so far is struggling to guarantee its owners profitability.

If all the pieces were to fall into place and the hydrogen factory to become a reality, this would be the CEO’s description of some of the local ripple effects:

Fresh haircut and manners

“Our hope (…) is for young people from Berlevåg to return home with a fresh haircut, manners and education.”

Meanwhile, Business Developer Kjell Richardsen continues thinking big before what is currently just a pilot project that may commence this summer – or not.

Nor does he have any requirements to the look or manners of youth who may return home to Berlevåg.

You can watch the entire interview on top of this page. (Subtitles available in English.)

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This article was originally published in Norwegian and has been translated by HNN's Elisabeth Bergquist.