Ministerial visit to UNIS

UNIS director Jøran Moen and Minister Emilie Enger Mehl.

Top image: UNIS director Jøran Moen and Minister Emilie Enger Mehl. (Photo: Fred Skancke Hansen/UNIS). 

UNIS welcomed both Minister of Justice and Svalbard, Ms. Emilie Enger Mehl, and Minister of Trade and Industry Mr. Jan Christian Vestre this week, both very keen to hear about UNIS and our ambitions for the green shift for Longyearbyen.

13 January 2022

The ministers’ goal with the trip was to listen to knowledge and experience about opportunities and challenges that the Svalbard society experiences now and, in the future, as well as get concrete input to the government’s Svalbard policy.

In meeting with UNIS director Jøran Moen both Ms. Mehl and Mr. Vestre asked very relevant questions. They are clearly interested in identifying opportunities and challenges in Svalbard and Longyearbyen.

Mr. Vestre invited to raise the level of ambition for renewable energy solutions, which is a main focus research area for UNIS. He also emphasized the importance of partnership and good interaction, and that we become visionaries together.

A showcase for sustainability
“The ambition that Longyearbyen is developed into a showcase for sustainability is completely in line with UNIS ‘strategy, and our plan to help accelerate the transition to the green shift”, says director Moen.

There are no renewable energy solutions for cold climates currently, but there are many opportunities that remain to be explored. The innovation potential for energy solutions is triggered by linking Arctic expertise to the development and testing of technology systems.

“Longyearbyen is therefore an excellent location for developing and testing systems that we can benefit from. And when products are certified and put into operation here in Longyearbyen, we have an export item to other remote places in cold climates”, according to director Moen.

“With regard to security of energy supply, it is especially important that the solutions are developed and tested locally, i.e., that knowledge developed is integrated into the education. It is therefore important that we succeed in connecting the research and innovation environment to business development, and we are already well under way with Store Norske and Longyearbyen Local Community Council. Good co-operation between the responsible ministries will be important in establishing a structure for co-operation, funding and investment opportunities. UNIS aims to contribute to one hundred new green jobs”, says an enthusiastic UNIS director.

Jøran Moen and Minister Jan Christian Vestre.
UNIS director Jøran Moen and Minister Jan Christian Vestre.