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Home* News and Stories → National budget 2021: hundreds of millions for Spitsbergen

National budget 2021: hundreds of millions for Spitsbergen

The Norwegian government has published the suggestions for the new national budget for 2021. The plans include several hundred million Norwegian kroner for Spitsbergen:

  • The labour inspectore (Arbeitstilsynet) will be strengthened with one million kroner.
  • The mining company Store Norske is to receive 40 millions to compensate for expected losses in mine 7, which is suffering from generally high costs and additional problems due to flooding with glacial meltwater after the hot summer days in July. The government aims at securing the supply of Longyearbyen’s coal power plant with local coal.
  • 61.1 Millionen are needed for securing Longyearbyen against snow avalanches and river floods – both are very important issues for Longyearbyen.
  • The comprehensive clean-up of Sveagruva and the nearby mines of Lunckefjellet and Svea Nord is expected to require 412.8 millions in 2021.
  • Svalbardmuseum is in for a grant of 1.5 millions, to “strengthen the museum and stimulate more activity”, also in the light (or, rather, darkness) of the corona crisis.
  • Also the Sysselmannen will get increased fundings, amongst others for to create a stilling for a lawyer to work tasks that a public prosecutor might otherwise take care of, when cases leave the Sysselmannen – an institution that includes the police – in Longyearbyen.
Coal power plant, Longyearbyen

Longyearbyen has a lot of important issues to deal with and some of them will be taken important steps further with Oslo’s new budget for 2021. Getting a new power source on the way to replace the old coal power plant would certainly make sense, to mention just one of many problems that Longyearbyen needs to take care of.

The local tourism organisation Visit Svalbard was disappointed by getting an increase of only 100,000 kroner on top of the current budget of 3.05 millions. Visit Svalbard represents many local companies, all of which are hit hard by the corona crisis.

But community representatives expressed themselves mostly satisfied. Amongst others, Longyearbyen will now also get the opportunity to apply for fundings from “klimasats”, a public fund for for climate protection projects that was established for mainland communities already in 2016. Longyearbyen has very high per capita CO2 emissions and electricity is very expensive. A new solution might bring considerable improvement for both issues. Currently, a hydrogen-based solution is discussed. Hydrogen could be supplied from north Norway and is expected to reduce both CO2 emissions and the high prices for electricity significantly.

The government’s budget plans still need the parliament’s approval.

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last modification: 2020-10-08 · copyright: Rolf Stange
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