From left: Norunn Tveiten Benestad (MP, Vest-Agder), Alf Holmelid (UiA), Eivind Buckner (Ugland Eiendom), Ingunn Foss (MP, Vest-Agder) and Tor Henning Ramfjord (GCE NODE / NOV).
Sørlandstinget is a meeting place for municipal and county mayors and members of parliament from the Agder region.
Ramfjord addressed Sørlandstinget only a week after Norway’s National Budget for 2015 was presented without any public funding for the lab.
– We need to qualify new equipment for the market. This requires extensive testing and documentation, which is why a lab for pilot-testing is essential for our industry, said Ramfjord.
NODE companies are already committed to spending MNOK 50 in the lab that is not yet built. Skeie Group has given MNOK 10 and Ugland Eiendom is ready to build the necessary buildings.
– All we need is MNOK 100 to equip the lab. For 2015 we ask only for MNOK 15-20, said Ramfjord.
Member of parliament Ingunn Foss (Conservative Party, Vest-Agder) said she was as disappointed as anyone when the budget showed no money for the lab.
– The success of the NODE-companies is acknowledged and appreciated, not only by the representatives from Agder, but also by other members of parliament. We are now looking at other sources for funding for this project, said Foss.
Her colleague, Norunn Tveiten Benestad (Cons., Vest-Agder), said the lab fits into the Government’s strategic effort to promote research and development.
– I am optimistic on behalf of the lab, even though it might take some extra time to find funding for it, said Benestad.