Valley Voice – a column where our cluster members are in focus. This week we talked with Sverre Alvik, Director for the Energy Transition research program in DNV.
– The biggest challenges – in addition to stopping climate change – is to understand how fast it’s going and understanding what is the right timing and the right technology to focus on, says Alvik.
1. What are you doing right now?
DNVs annual Energy Transition Outlook. It describes the world’s energy transition towards 2050, how fast development is going, what technologies are coming, what policy we expect to pursue, and much more. In October, we published a report on how we can reach the 1.5-degree goal and what each sector and region must do to contribute to this goal. This was done in advance of the COP26 meeting in Glasgow so that it could be used as an inspiration for it. Right now, we are out talking about the reports with customers, media, energy stakeholders, and the authorities. At the same time, we plan next year’s work with the reports – what research must be done next year, what the outcome will be after Glasgow, how this will affect energy policy, and so on.
2. What are the biggest challenges and opportunities in the future?
The biggest challenges in addition to mitigating climate change are to understand how fast the transition is going and to understand what the right timing and the right technology are to focus on. In some more detail, this means that for companies, the biggest challenge is understanding the opportunities and threats that lie ahead. What does it mean for when we will stop investing in oil and gas, what technologies are coming, how will we as a company or our customers go in at the right time, how will we get the authorities’ help to be a leader and participate in to bring new technology forward as a leading industrial country? Norway has a role to play in making new technology mature and ready for scaling on the world market, but if you go in too early, there is not a market there.
3. How are DNV working to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050?
DNV does not produce goods and does not have factories. What we produce are knowledge, trust, security, and advice. The climate footprint of our own services is quite small, but we have an ambitious agenda to cut our own emissions and compensate for our own remaining emissions. The most important way we contribute to achieving net-zero is what we do through our projects and reports and help other companies that have much larger climate footprints. The most important part of our contribution to helping the world reach zero is through knowledge, advice, and certification.
4. What keeps you awake at night with regards to the energy transition?
What keeps me awake is that global warming provides extremely challenging living conditions for large parts of the world’s population. In Norway, we can live with both sea levels rising and higher temperatures. While in large parts of the world you must flee because you cannot cultivate the land where you live, your home is underwater or the temperatures are too high. That’s the kind of thing that keeps me awake. At the same time, it is how we can impact the big and important issues around the energy transition and climate change that motivates me and why this is exciting to do. I have been my entire career in DNV, but have never been in a job at DNV for as long as I have now – because I find it very meaningful.
5. What do you think will be the most valuable thing about being a member of Energy Valley?
Access to competence, technology understanding, and networks. By being part of a cluster like Energy Valley, we get the opportunity to inspire and develop each other.
6. Is there any book that has inspired you in the way you lead?
The Brand You 50 by Tom Peters. There are two points I took with me from the book that I often tell my colleagues: 1. That you get to use the best of your knowledge 2. That you have fun.
If these two things fall into place, then you are at the right place. If one of those things is missing, then you are probably not at the right place. If this happens, we need to help you improve the things that are missing – if we can, or help you to find another place where you can tick off both those two things. Both are needed in the long run. This does not necessarily mean that every day needs to be fun, but in the long run you need to thrive and look forward to going to work.
7. Which Energy Valley member do you want to pass the baton on to?
I would like to challenge someone that works on how to decarbonize the challenging sectors that cannot easily be electrified, such as Ulrik Olbjørn, at Equinor.
Thank you, Sverre!