Statkraft CEO Christian Rynning-Toennesen has told a conference in Oslo that solar power will soon be cheaper than coal-fired power without subsidies, adding “What we have seen is just the beginning”, in relation to the clean energy revolution.

The head of Europe’s largest renewable energy companies told the conference, “There will be a lot of new business opportunities arising from the push into renewables. We need to adapt and look for these new possibilities.”
Christian Rynning-Toennesen
“Within around seven years we expect new solar to compete with the existing OPEX (operating expenses) of coal, meaning that we are reaching a point where new solar can compete away coal on a pure cost basis without any subsidies at all”.

“In almost all our markets, new solar and new onshore wind are already the lowest cost technologies of any type when it comes to new electricity. Here in Scandinavia, new onshore wind is the cheapest form of new electricity that we can bring onto the grid.”

Rynning-Toennesen said that this combined with systems of additional revenues for renewable energy has brought an “enormous growth and it continues both in Europe and in emerging markets.”

“These are also technologies that are not difficult to construct. You don’t need a big skill set to set up a solar or wind park.”

“So the barriers are low to enter the market and the possibilities for new companies who have never been in the energy industry are there and the competition is extremely strong”, he said.

Meanwhile, Statkraft Ventures has invested $8m in wind turbine blade inspection company SkySpecs, together with UL Ventures, Capital Midwest and existing investors.

SkySpecs provides a fully-automated blade inspection service, using robotics, artificial intelligence and machine-based analytics.

Statkraft Ventures investment manager Alexander Kueppers said: “We consider standardisation and automation of O&M related tasks the next big challenge in cost competition.”