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Making the future electric!

By Linea Bancel|Published 07 March 2022|Category: News, Valley Voice

Valley Voice – a column where our cluster members are in focus. This week we talked with Guro Knapstad, Head of Business Development & Innovation at Glitre Energi.

– A key challenge we need to face is to trust each other and work together. That’s the only way to succeed in curbing emissions, says Knapstad.

Glitre Energi
Glitre Energy is a power company, that owns, develops, and operates crucial infrastructure based on renewable hydropower. Our hydropower plants and electrical grids are in the Drammen, Kongsberg, Jaren, and Hadeland areas. Our annual hydropower production is about 2.6 TWh.

1. What are you doing right now?

I am leading the corporate Business Development & Innovation team in Glitre Energi, and we have a lot of interesting projects going on at the moment! We have innovation and improvement projects related to our core business of hydropower and grids, in addition to projects within new green value chains like hydrogen, batteries, and solar.

Lately, we have been looking at opportunities within green hydrogen. To get hydrogen production implemented within a short time frame we believe in a stepwise approach and strong partnerships across the full value chain.

2. What are the biggest challenges and opportunities in the future?

From a power company’s perspective, there are so many opportunities emerging as part of the energy transition and in contributing to reducing carbon emissions.

Replacing fossil fuels with electrical solutions wherever possible, is crucial to reducing emissions, and one of the most important tasks for our company. Where electrification directly from the grid or via batteries is not possible like in the maritime sector and some industrial processes, green hydrogen or ammonia will be a key solution to decarbonize. Norway has the potential to become a significant producer of green hydrogen and ammonia.

In addition to developing green solutions as mentioned above, power companies should also share their knowledge and experience within energy systems. Traditionally, we have been used to working and communicating within our own sector, without much cross-industrial interest. However, that has changed a lot just in the last few years.

A big challenge is the ‘need for speed’ to reach net zero before 2050. So many changes need to happen, new solutions must be developed, and it will certainly take cooperation across companies and sectors. It takes time to build relationships, but a key challenge we need to face is to trust each other and work together. That’s the only way to succeed in curbing emissions.

3. How is Glitre Energi working to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050?

Our vision is explicit in that matter; “We make the future electric” (“Vi gjør morgendagen helt elektrisk”). So our task is to produce renewable power, bring the power to where it is needed, and aim to develop and provide green and electrical solutions to replace fossil ones.

4. What keeps you awake at night with regards to the energy transition?

I am not sure we are able to move quickly enough to sufficiently reduce climate emissions, and we do not know what the full consequences will be in the future.

5. What do you think will be the most valuable thing about being a member of Energy Valley?

Here I will borrow the term “Power of the network” from Techstars. It’s all about people, and I’ve seen so many times the magic a good team can bring. Trustful cooperation across people, companies, and industries are crucial for strong and successful innovation.

6. Is there any book that has inspired you in the way you lead?

This summer I read “How to avoid a climate disaster” by Bill Gates. I found this to be a brilliant book, explaining the climate crisis in a simple and straightforward way. It could almost work as a strategy document directly from the book. I can highly recommend it!

7. Which Energy Valley member do you want to pass the baton on to? 

I’d like to pass the baton on to Drammen Havn, a valued partner of ours in Drammen, with ambitious environmental goals and many exciting plans in their pipeline.

Thank you, Guro!