Norwegian electricity company Elvia’s promise of providing more power to TikTok has proven detrimental to the production capacity of Norwegian/Finnish firm Nordic Ammunition Company (Nammo).
Nammo facility at Raufoss, Innlandet county, must produce weapons around the clock to fulfil orders placed by the Norwegian government and allied countries that have pledged arms to Ukraine as well as to replenish their stocks, but the hydropower generated available for businesses is limited.
Raufoss Næringspark (Raufoss Industripark) has nearly 50 companies employing over 2,600 people.
TikTok is in the process of setting up a “power-guzzling” data center in Hamar. Hamar and Raufoss are located on the opposite banks of lake Mjøsa.
“The authorities must choose between storing cat videos and securing critical social functions,” Nammo CEO Morten Brandtzæg told local news outlet VG.
Tiktok has already signed an agreement with the local power supplier.
“Today, this grid is more or less full,” Morten Schau, communications manager at Norwegian electricity distribution company Elvia said.
Elvia is not allowed to prioritize between customers who apply for network capacity.
“The rule is that the first person in the queue with mature projects gets access to network capacity first,” Schau said.
Nammo and other businesses at Raufoss are concerned that the power situation could stand in their way of expanding production.
“If we do not get access to electricity, then Nammo will not be able to expand the capacity, which is badly needed,” said a worried Brandtzæg.
He said an alternative to keep up with the demand is to establish a factory elsewhere in Norway or abroad where there’s access to power.
Fredrik Tangeraas, communications director at Nammo, said “Norway will be made a laughing stock in the NATO” if TikTok, an app that has been banned in many countries over security concerns, hampers with the country’s arms production.
France and the United Kingdom banned TikTok on government devices this week.
“We are worried about the potential for espionage, the uncertainty surrounding national interests and our access to electricity,” managing director at Raufoss Næringspark, Øivind Hansebråten, said.
TikTok's deputy director for government relations in Europe, Theo Bertram, told local media that the company is “not Chinese, despite Chinese co-owners, but is mainly owned by international investors.” He has also dismissed security concerns.