Electricity sector in Norway

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Norway: Electricity sector
Flag of Norway.svg
Installed capacity (2007) 30.46 GW
Share of fossil energy 4%
Share of renewable energy 96%
GHG emissions from electricity generation (2007) 0.8 Mt CO2
Average electricity use (2008) 27 MWh annually per capita
Main article: Energy in Norway
Alta dam, one of Norway's 937[1] hydropower stations that provide 98% of the nation's power.

The electricity sector in Norway relies predominantly on hydroelectricity. A significant share of the total electrical production is consumed by national industry.

Production and Consumption[edit]

Hydropower production capacity is around 31 TW in 2014, when 131 TWh was produced; about 95% of total production.[2]

Of the total production in 2011 of 128,000 GWh, 122,000 GWh was from hydroelectric plants, 4795 GWh was from thermal power, and 1283 GWh was wind generated.[3] In same year, the total consumption was 114,000 GWh.[3]

The annual electricity consumption was about 26-27 MWh per inhabitant during 2004-2009 when the European union (EU15) average in 2008 was 7.4 MWh. Norway’s consumption of electricity was over three times higher per person compared to the EU 15 average in 2008. The domestic electricity supply promotes use of electricity.[4]

Electricity per person and by power source[edit]

Electricity per person in Norway* (kWh/ hab.)[5]
Use Production Import Imp./Exp. % Fossil Nuclear Nuc. % Other RE* Bio+waste Wind Non RE use* RE %*
2004 26,601 24,096 2,505 9.4% 105 0 0% 23,893 98 2,610 90.2%
2005 27,297 29,894 -2,597 -9.5% 108 0 0% 29,701 84 -2,488 109.1%
2006 27,349 29,490 -2.141 -7.8% 167 0 0% 29,195 128 -1,974 107.2%
2008 27,398 30,355 -2,957 -10.8% 151 0 0% 30,130 74 -2,806 110.2%
2009** 25,691 27,549 -1,858 -7.2% 919 0 0% 26,388* 63 209* -969 103.8%
**2009 Check updates
* This data for Norway is extracted from the international column of a Swedish report
* Other RE is waterpower, solar and geothermal electricity and windpower until 2008
* Non RE use = use – production of renewable electricity
RE % = (production of RE / use) * 100% Note: EU calculates the share of renewable energies in gross electrical consumption.


Norway has an open electric market, integrated with the other Nordic countries. Export and import is routine over the direct power links to Sweden, Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands. The market is handled by NASDAQ OMX Commodities Europe and Nord Pool Spot. Many of the hydroelectric plants in Norway are easily adjustable and can adapt well to variations in demand, and hence in price, but frequency stability is not satisfactory, and Statnett works with producers to minimize sudden changes in power flow.[6] On a normal day, when price is low during nighttime, Norway normally imports power, and exports during daytime when the price is higher. Maintaining the grid in the harsh Norwegian nature is a compromise between stability desires and economy, and outages are expected in these circumstances.[7] About 70% of the grid is without grounding; called IT-nett.[8]

West of Oslo, there is a small single-phase AC power grid operated with 16.7 Hz frequency for power supply of electric railways, see Electric power supply system of railways in Norway.

Fuel mix disclosure[edit]

According to the Reliable Disclosure Systems for Europe (RE-DISS), the annual share of renewable electricity in the Norwegian market dropped to 13% in 2013. This is an effect of trade in certificates, and does not reflect the physical origin of electricity consumed in Norway, which remains entirely renewable. Consumers who do not explicitly purchase renewable electricity implicitly support this trade, and will receive RE-DISS values of high proportions of non-renewable sources such as coal, gas and nuclear power.

Source percentage (2010)
Fossil 42.2%
Hydroelectricity 35.8%
Nuclear power 21.5%
Biomass 0.4%
Wind power 0.1%
Solar power 0.0%
CO2 286 g/kWh
Nuclear waste 0.0022 g/kWh

Norway exports the bulk of its Guarantees of Origin.[9][10]


In some years, a combination of high power prices in the market and less than usual rainfall renders the power system more vulnerable to power shortages. So far consumers in Norway have noted this by paying a higher price for electrical power during wintertime, however still a low price in international terms. Copious rainfall in the winter of 2013-14 led to sharply lower prices.

New connections to other countries could stabilize available power levels and reduce price swings, however as these areas are more expensive, average price may rise in Norway. Grid strengthening may cost a few billion kroner.[11]

Mode of production[edit]

Hydroelectric power is the main mode of production. Wind power offers huge export opportunities. Norway’s potentials for wind power are excellent and the electricity production exceeds its own use. The solar industry development in Norway is significant.


Norway is known for its particular expertise in the development of efficient, environment-friendly hydroelectric power plants.[12] Nationwide installed capacity of hydropower amounted to 29 GW in 2007.[13] The maximum working volume of hydro storage power plants is 82 TWh,[14] whereas the average seasonal cycle is 42 TWh. In 2008, hydroelectricity generated 141 terawatt-hours (TWh) and accounted for 98.5% of the national electricity demand. This was also 4.3 percent of the worldwide generated hydropower and according to the IEA, Norway ranked 6th for that year, behind China, Canada, Brazil, the United States and Russia.[13]

Solar power[edit]

The national support for solar power is in place since 2008.[15] For 2013, the European Photovoltaic Industry Association reports a negligible 0.02 watts per inhabitant or less than 0.1 megawatt (MW) of installed photovoltaic capacity in Norway. This is a hundred times less than in Finland (2 watts per habitant), two hundred times less than in Sweden (4 watts per habitant) and almost five thousand times less than in Denmark (98 watts per habitant).[16]

Solar companies include Renewable Energy Corporation REC, Elkem Solar and NorSun. REC is a solar power company with headquarters in Norway and Singapore. Elkem Solar was part of Norwegian Elkem. Orkla Group sold it with $2 billion in January 2011 to a Chinese chemical company China National Bluestar head office in Beijing.[17] NorSun is a private solar cell producer.[18]


Norway has imported up to 10% of its electricity production during 2004-2009.[5] According to IEA the net electricity export was 14 TWh and the hydro power production 141 TWh in 2008.[13]

A new high-voltage link between Nea in Norway and Järpströmmen in Sweden was commissioned in 2009.[19]

Norway's grid is connected with the NorNed-cable to the Netherlands. There are plans for cables with Germany (NorGer or NordLink) and the UK (Scotland–Norway interconnector and HVDC Norway–Great Britain).

See also[edit]



  1. ^ Statistics Norway - Power stations, by type. Maximum output. Number. MW
  2. ^ Vannkraftpotensialet Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate, 10 December 2015.
  3. ^ a b Statistics Norway - Electricity, annual figures, 2011, Generation and consumption of electricity. GWh
  4. ^ Energy in Sweden, Facts and figures, The Swedish Energy Agency, (in Swedish: Energiläget i siffror), Table: Specific electricity production per inhabitant with breakdown by power source (kWh/person), Source: IEA/OECD 2006 T23, 2007 T25, 2008 T26, 2009 T25 and 2010 T49
  5. ^ a b Norway numbers extracted from Energy in Sweden, Facts and figures, The Swedish Energy Agency, (in Swedish: Energiläget i siffror), Table: Specific electricity production per inhabitant with breakdown by power source (kWh/person), Source: IEA/OECD 2006 T23, 2007 T25, 2008 T26, 2009 T25 and 2010 T49.
  6. ^ Lie, Øyvind. "Nye utenlandskabler tvinger fram mer fleksibel kraftproduksjon" Teknisk Ukeblad, 22 January 2015. Accessed: 22 January 2015.
  7. ^ Nilsen, Jannicke. "«Nina» tok strømmen fra 170.000. Prisen for å sikre kraftnettet: 8 milliarder" Teknisk Ukeblad, 12 January 2015. Accessed: 12 January 2015.
  8. ^ Dalløkken, Per Erlien. "Norsk selskap løste Renaults ladeproblem med oljeteknologi" Teknisk Ukeblad, 21 January 2015. Accessed: 22 January 2015.
  9. ^ http://www.ecohz.com/facts-news/facts/norwegian-electricity-disclosure-2012/
  10. ^ http://www.nve.no/no/Kraftmarked/Sluttbrukermarkedet/Varedeklarasjon/Varedeklarasjon-2013/
  11. ^ Lie, Øyvind. "Så mye dyrere blir strømmen av utenlandskabler" Teknisk Ukeblad, 6 Juni 2012. Accessed: 12 January 2015.
  12. ^ Hydropower in Norway, page 15
  13. ^ a b c IEA Key stats 2010 pages 19 and 27
  14. ^ Florian Ess et al.:The significance of international hydropower storage for the energy transition, prognos, Berlin, 2012, S. 27
  15. ^ Renewables Global Status Report: REN 21 Paris 13.5.2009 page 8
  16. ^ "Global Market Outlook for Photovoltaics 2014-2018". www.epia.org. EPIA - European Photovoltaic Industry Association. p. 24. Archived from the original (PDF) on 12 June 2014. Retrieved 12 June 2014. 
  17. ^ Orkla sells Elkem to China National Bluestar
  18. ^ NorSun
  19. ^ Energy in Sweden 2010 page 81

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]