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Hydropower seminar in Ankara: Opening statement

Opening statement given by HRH Crown Prince Haakon at hydropower seminar in Ankara during official visit to Turkey, November 2008.

Your Excellencies, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

Turkey and Norway are the two countries in Europe with the largest resources of hydropower. On this basis, it is a great pleasure for me to be here in Ankara and open this high level seminar, which I hope our two countries will benefit from. I know that Norwegian businesses highly value the strong and smooth cooperation between our two countries in this field. They report on excellent cross-cultural, professional collaboration. This seminar is a great opportunity for top professionals within the hydropower sector and in power management to share experiences.

We live in a time with severe challenges related to combat climate change. To focus on the largest renewable source, hydropower, is therefore very timely. I hope today’s discussions will lead to an increased cooperation between our authorities and business companies. Turkey is known for highly competent work related to dam-building and hydropower. This is duly recognised by the strong attendance from the Norwegian side today. Water is one of Norway’s major natural resources together with oil and gas.

Our abundance of water allows us to produce our electricity almost exclusively from this clean and renewable resource. Hydropower has for more than 100 years been vital for Norway. In fact, it has been the backbone of our industrial development and prosperity.

When our forefathers started to develop water as a main energy source, they put in place a farsighted legal framework which ensures that the benefits generated by the hydropower production will be shared with the local communities. This was a key to sustainable development of our hydropower resources, so that we today can enjoy the advantages of an energy source which is climate-friendly and domestic.

A logical follow-up came in 1990 when Norway introduced the Energy Act which created a market for generation and trade in the electricity sector.

I would like to emphasise that globally we are facing two major challenges related to energy. The first challenge is related to climate change and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. The second is to strengthen the world’s vulnerable energy supply in a sustainable way.

One of the solutions to these challenges is further development of hydropower, which can play a major role to enhance energy and water security, as long as it is carried out with due care for the environment and for the people.

In the context of meeting the effects of climate change, hydropower with storage capacity will even be more useful, as the reservoirs will be an important tool to mitigate floods and droughts while generating clean, renewable and affordable energy.

It is my sincere hope that this occasion will strengthen the Turkish-Norwegian co-operation in the field of power generation and transmission, to the benefit of our people, our environment and economic development.

I wish you fruitful discussions during the day.
Thank you


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