Briefs from Svalbardposten for the week of March 22, 2016


Low-quality diesel a threat to cars; new fuel offered free
Vehicles filled with diesel between Feb. 19. and March 17 are at risk of engine failure due to low-quality fuel meant for boats being delivered to Svalbard Auto, according to Frank Jakobsen, administrative director of LNS Spitsbergen. He said the error happened because his company switched to a provider that offers such fuel. Free draining and replacement of fuel is being offered by the service station, with about 120 vehicles getting replacement fuel between Friday and early this week. A few vehicles became inoperative as a result of the low-quality fuel, but none sustained engine damage, according to Jakobsen.

New coal mines unlikely in Svalbard, lawmakers agree
An overwhelming majority of Parliament appears to be opposed to new coal mines in Svalbard, even if prices recover. “It is impossible to predict the future, but the way the world looks out there today with falling coal prices and with ambitious climate targets, it is difficult to imagine that new mines will come into operation,” said Tina Bru said, a member of the Conservative Party, which is the dominant member of the ruling coalition. Among the reasons cited are the terms of the agreement reaches at the U.N. climate summit in Paris in December and Parliament’s decision to rid the Norwayy’s oil wealth fund of holdings in companies that produce coal. “Norway cannot demand that the rest of the world ends coal production, but we continue even when there are environmentally sustainable options,” said Heikki Holmås, a Socialist Left Party member of Parliament.

Pols: Cable from mainland may be post-coal power fix
A power cable from the mainland may be the ideal solution to replace coal as the primary source of electricity in Svalbard, according to some members of Parliament. “It will cost a great deal, but it is an investment in the long term, said Øyvind Korsberg, a Progress Party member on Parliament’s Energy and Environment Committee. He said it may be simple to add a 100-megawatt cable along the same route as the subsea fiber-optic cables. The Conservative Party that heads Norway’s ruling coalition is lukewarm about the idea, as is the Labor Party, but the concept does have support from the Socialist Left and Christian Democratic parties.