Norway and its Nordic neighbors are considered world leaders in the use of renewable energy, green technologies, and sustainable resource handling. Norway has accepted, matched, or exceeded international commitments to reduce emissions (including from carbon dioxide, sulfur, and NOX). Emissions of carbon dioxide has proven to be a challenge for Norway, given its role as a significant exporter of oil and gas, as the production itself is carbon intensive. The rest of the society is already running on clean hydropower, so there are few low-hanging fruits for steep reductions. The exception is the transportation sector, where Norway has taken a considerable lead with electrification.
Hydropower: Norway has considerable hydro resources and has over the past 100 years, constructed more than 330 dams. Hydropower production currently surpasses demand by around 10tWh, however electricity net exports have created an electricity deficit in 2022, bringing dams to record low levels. A baseload of zero emission electric power creates good conditions for maintaining zero carbon emission the entire value chain, including hydrogen, ammonia, production of batteries and metals as well as various modes of transportation.
Hydrogen and ammonia: A fast-growing number of companies have entered the hydrogen business. The government has singled out hydrogen as a key strategy in the green shift, making available funding for R&D. Ammonia may become the clean fuel of choice by shipowners for deep sea shipping.
Batteries: A few giga factories are in the pipeline, with goals of sourcing cobalt, nickel, and other minerals from the region, or change the composition in batteries to reduce the need to import rare earth minerals. With a very high demand per capita, Norway, together with allies, seek to reduce dependence from others in this value chain.
Electric vehicles: Because of generous incentives, around 90% of new passenger cars sold in the consumer market have fully electric drive trains. New regulations for the procurement of vehicles for road transport entered into force this year. The regulations and schedule stipulate requirements for zero emissions in public procurement of passenger cars from January 2022, and of light vans and city buses from the beginning of 2023 and 2025, respectively. The government expects no gasoline cars to be sold after 2025. These high ambitions also translate to sea travel and aviation. The fleet of 200+ ferries are becoming zero emission. The regional airline Wideroe seeks to electrify its entire fleet within 2028.
Next generation agriculture: Green and sustainable technologies, and a fresh new look at farming is needed to reduce climate gas emissions, maintain a good soil quality, and protect biodiversity. New business models are developed based on this premise, with government support, but cross-border collaboration and partnerships are much needed to develop ideas and scale up businesses. With high labor costs, automation will have a high return on investment.
Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS): Norway considers CCS a high priority and has played an important role in the development of CCUS technologies. In close collaboration with the U.S. Department of Energy, Norway has funded a range of carbon capture technologies at Test Center Mongstad (TSM) for a decade, and concepts are now ripe for scaling globally. A waste-to-energy plant (Hafslund Celsio Oslo, Klemetsrud, Oslo) and a cement factory (Heidelberg, Herøya) are among the first capture sites in the world, and others will follow. Norway has also funded a carbon storage reservoir under the seabed in the North Sea, with connected infrastructure on the coast, a concept called “Longship”. The site will soon be able to receive pressurized CO2 captured in Northern Europe, by ship. U.S. technologies are instrumental.
Solar power: Solar power R&D and production has been a fast-growing sector in the global energy market. Norway has been ambitious and several solar technology companies participate in large international developments. Floating solar power is on the rise.
Biofuels and biomass: Norway has a total of 765 million m3 of forest, with an annual contribution of 25 million m3 - about 47% of Norway’s landmass. This has hardly been utilized for fuels, so the demand for more sustainable and “advanced biofuels” is high, especially considering unpopular imports of biofuels competing with food crops. New business models and applications for biomass are regularly launched. Seaweed and algae are other biomass sources widely explored, for energy, fish feed, fertilization, and other purposes.
Green buildings: Smarter, more efficient, and sometimes energy-producing buildings have become part of a smart city priority, with municipalities taking a stake in private and public development. Green building is therefore part of a holistic plan of building a more sustainable society. Most innovations in this segment are imported.
To develop the technologies necessary to meet the twin challenges of energy security and climate change, the Norwegian Government believes that it must use both carrot and stick, involving taxes, incentives, subsidies, bans and government procurement, creating demand. U.S. companies have a lot to offer within maritime, engineering and energy applications.
- Norwegian Ministry of Environment
- Norwegian Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries
- Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy
- Norwegian Pollution Control Authority
- Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate
- SINTEF Byggforsk passive house project
- Norwegian Bio Energy Association