A proposal to sell off some of the state’s stock in the now wholly state-owned electricity producer Statkraft has received a mixed reaction from the Members of Parliament who’d need to approve the partial privatization.
The proposal, put forward by the Conservative Party that leads Norway’s minority coalition government, is backed by its two small support parties, the Liberals and the Christian Democrats. Labour, the Socialist Left and the Greens party are far from convinced.
“The Conservatives’ thoughts on partial privatization of Statkraft are ideological and reduce the company’s opportunities as a major player in renewable energy,” Hadia Tajik of Labour told newspaper Dagens Næringsliv (DN). She thinks privatization will weaken Statkraft’s growing role as a key player both in Norway and abroad.
The Conservatives called Tajik’s viewpoint hypocritical, since the partial privatizations of much bigger companies like Statoil and Telenor occurred during Labour Party governments. The capital raised was used to help both companies expand internationally, which is the goal of a partial privatization of Statkraft, which currently has around 4,170 employees employed in more than 20 countries. Nearly 60 percent of them are based in Norway.
Statkraft is based at Lysaker, just outside Oslo. It already ranks as Europe’s largest supplier of renewable energy because of Norway’s vast hydroelectric industry fueled by its waterfalls. Statkraft has also become a global player in energy trading.