"Turn down the temperature on the radiator," said Marianne Aasen, head of the technical sector of Longyearbyen's municipal government.
Reducing electricity and heat consumption was a primary item on the agenda during a conference on energy efficiency at Kulturhuset on Wednesday. The aim of the conference was highlighting challenges Longyearbyen faces with future energy production. The existing coal power plant is projected to have a lifespan ending in 2038, but time is short regarding whether there should be planning and construction of a new power source.
"We cannot increase the capacity of the current facility and it is important to get started with the project 'future energy bearer,'" Aasen said."Twenty years is a very short time when we are talking about an energy bearer in Longyearbyen."
Aasen said there is also a challenge providing enough heat.
"On cold days we are unable to produce enough heating with the power plant," she said.
Considerable attention has consistently been focused on reducing power consumption in recent years, but for ordinary residents it make little difference whether the radiator is set to three or four since the price is the same. The situation may, however, be different if it must be supplemented by diesel, which affects the price of electricity – already the highest in Norway. By comparison, it costs 350,000 kroner a day to run diesel generators when the power grid fails.
Building a third boiler at the old power station is out of the question.
"But are all aware there will be enough for everyone," Aasen said.
She said she also believes private individuals must take responsibility and encouraged private owners of pipe ducts to insulate them better in order to avoid wasting heat.
The key?: Many people participated in the energy conservation conference. The aim was to discuss tomorrow's energy sources in Longyearbyen. FOTO: Eirik Palm
"We have become adept at saving
electricity, but now there is so much
power being saved that there is less heat"
Residents and companies have made an effort to conserve power. In addition, the municipal government has enacted several energy-saving measures. That has created a bit of a paradox, however, since when power consumption declines the impact goes beyond the production of district heating.
"We have become adept at saving electricity, but now there is so much power being saved that there is less heat," said Rasmus Bøckman, a city district heating operating engineer- "We must think about that."
On a normal day there is sufficient electricity and heat, but on cold days the difference is marked. The difference between minimum and maximum loads at the power plant is considerable, but when peaks are reached there is little or nothing to rely on for additional power production.
Bøckman said he believes electricity prices should allow power saving measures to quickly pays off.
"You are doing pretty much everything wrong in that it will not be profitable with power-saving measures here," he said.
Several companies are taking steps to use less energy and be more environmentally friendly. Among them is LNSS, which is about to replace its truck fleet to bring down operating costs and emissions. That means 300 new Euro 6 trucks that will emit as much as a single model from the 1990s.
"We currently spending three million kroner on energy-saving measures," said Administrative Director Frank Jakobsen, who also discussed light sensors, and time and temperature barriers for plug-in engine heaters.
LNSS also has installed solar panels on apartment buildings at Elvesletta, where electricity production was more than twice as high as the manufacturer expected. The reason was reflection of sunlight in the valley.
The Svalbard Satellite Station is also working on a solar panel project, but station chief Ole Petter Storstad said he doesn't know if it will be completed in 2016 or 2017.
"We are talking about half of the facility," he said.
In addition, Svalbard Brewery is planning to use biomass waste from brewing to produce energy.
The conference was organized in cooperation with Visit Svalbard and the Svalbard Environmental Protection Fund.
Translated by Mark Sabbatini