Electricity sector in Norway
|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|
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
Hydropower generation capacity is around 31 GW in 2014, when 131 TWh was produced; about 95% of total production.
Of the total production in 2011 of 128 TWh; 122 TWh was from hydroelectric plants, 4795 GWh was from thermal power, and 1283 GWh was wind generated. In the same year, the total consumption was 114 TWh. Hydro production can vary 60 TWh between years, depending on amount of precipitation, and the remaining hydro potential is about 34 TWh.
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, and it is the most common energy source for heating floors and hot water. Overall the price is about the lowest in Europe, only beaten by Iceland. Norway also has much power intensive electrochemical industries like aluminum melting and silicon refinery.
Electricity per person and by power source
|Electricity per person in Norway* (kWh/ hab.)|
|Use||Production||Import||Imp./Exp. %||Fossil||Nuclear||Nuc. %||Other RE*||Bio+waste||Wind||Non RE use*||RE %*|
|**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.
|Grid map and development plan|
Statnett is the transmission system operator in Norway, operating 11,000 km of high power lines. There are plans to upgrade the western grid from 300 to 420 kV at a cost of 8 billion NOK, partly to accommodate cables to Germany and England.
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, and the Netherlands. The market is handled by NASDAQ OMX Commodities Europe and Nord Pool Spot, and has 5 price zones in Norway. 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. 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. About 70% of the grid is without grounding; called IT-nett.
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
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.
|Nuclear waste||0.0022 g/kWh|
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 snow- and rain-fall in the mild winters of 2013-15 led to sharply lower prices, which was 26.7 øre per kWh in 2015.
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.
Mode of production
Hydroelectric power is the main mode of production. Wind power is 838 MW in 2015, but expected to increase by 1,000 MW by 2020 and offers huge export opportunities. Norway’s potentials for wind power are excellent and the electricity production usually exceeds national own use. However, Central Norway has a power deficit of 7 TWh per year. 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. Nationwide installed capacity of hydropower amounted to 29 GW in 2007. The maximum working volume of hydro storage power plants is 82 TWh, 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.
The national support for solar power is in place since 2008. 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).
Solar companies include Elkem Solar and NorSun. Renewable Energy Corporation REC was 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. NorSun is a private solar cell producer.
Norway has around 3 power plants burning natural gas, depending on how they are counted : Mongstad 280 MW CHP, Kårstø 420MW (closed) and Tjeldbergodden 150MW (unused). They are rarely used, as hydropower is usually cheaper.
Norway and Sweden's grids have long been connected. A new high-voltage link between Nea in Norway and Järpströmmen in Sweden was commissioned in 2009. Beginning in 1977 the Norwegian and Danish grids were connected with 500 MW, growing to 1,700 MW in 2015. Norway's grid is connected with the 700 MW NorNed-cable to the Netherlands. There are plans for cables with Germany (NordLink or NorGer) and the UK (HVDC Norway–Great Britain or Scotland–Norway interconnector).
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