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Electricity sector in Norway

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Electricity sector of Norway
Installed capacity (2021)40.26 GW[1]
Production (2021[1])157.113 TWh (565,610 TJ)
Share of fossil energy1%[1]
Share of renewable energy99%
GHG emissions from electricity generation (2007)0.8 Mt CO2
Average electricity use (2008)27 MWh annually per capita
Consumption by sector
(% of total)
Residential34.2[1] (2021)
Industrial44.5[1] (2021)
Commercial21.3[1] (2021)
Dam in Alta Municipality, one of Norway's 937[2] hydropower stations that provide 98% of the nation's power.

The electricity sector in Norway relies predominantly on hydroelectricity.[3][4] A significant share of the total electrical production is consumed by national industry.

Production and consumption[edit]

Production, consumption and export of electrical energy in Norway. Source: Statistisk sentralbyrå. www.ssb.no

Average annual hydropower generation capacity in 2019 was around 131 TWh, about 95% of total electricity production.[5]

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.[6] In the same year, the total consumption was 114 TWh.[6] Hydro production can vary 60 TWh between years, depending on amount of precipitation, and the remaining hydro potential is about 34 TWh.[7]

In 2016, the Norwegian government published a white paper regarding their future energy intentions through 2030. This announcement emphasized four main goals, which were improving security in the supply of their power, improving the efficiency of their renewables, making their energy more efficient, and more environment- and climate-sensitive, and fostering economic development and value through fiscally responsible and renewable technology.[8]

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,[9] and it is the most common energy source for heating floors and hot water.

Electricity per person and by power source[edit]

Electricity per person in Norway (kWh/ inhab.)[10]
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%
2014 431[11]
2015 484[11]
* 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.


External image
image icon Grid map of Scandinavia, 2020

Statnett is the transmission system operator in Norway, operating 11,000 km of high power lines.[12] There are plans to upgrade the western grid from 300 to 420 kV at a cost of 8 billion NOK,[13][14] partly to accommodate cables[15] to Germany[16] and England.[17]

Norway has an open electric market, integrated with the other Nordic countries over the Synchronous grid of Northern Europe. Export and import is routine over the direct power links to Sweden, Denmark, and the Netherlands. The market is handled by Nord Pool, and has 5 price zones in Norway. Financial future contracts are traded at NASDAQ OMX. 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.[18] 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.[19] The IT-nett, about 70% of the grid, is not grounded.[20]

West of Oslo, there is a small single-phase AC power grid operated with 16.7 Hz frequency for power supply of electric railways.[21]


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 winter, 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.[22]

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.[23]

Mode of production[edit]


Typical Norwegian geography

Hydroelectric power is the main mode of electricity production. Norway is known for its particular expertise in the development of efficient, environment-friendly hydroelectric power plants.[24] Calls to power Norway principally through hydropower emerged as early as 1892, coming in the form a letter by the former Prime Minister Gunnar Knutsen to parliament. Ninety percent of hydropower capacity is publicly owned and distributed across municipalities and counties.[25] Nationwide installed capacity of hydropower amounted to 33.8 GW in 2015. The maximum working volume of hydrologic storage power plants is 85 TWh, whereas the average seasonal cycle is 42 terawatt-hours (TWh). In 2015, hydroelectricity generated 144 TWh and accounted for 95.8% of the national electricity demand.[26] In European markets, it is the single largest producer of hydropower.[27] According to the IEA, Norway generated 4.3 percent of the worldwide hydropower in 2008 and ranked 6th for that year, behind China, Canada, Brazil, the United States and Russia.[28]

Part of the reason that so much of Norway’s electricity can be generated from hydropower is due to the natural advantage of its topography, with abundant steep valleys and rivers. Due to climate change, the region is currently experiencing heavier rainfall and is projected to receive more in the future, further increasing its capacity for hydropower.[29]

Wind power[edit]

Wind power capacity was at the end of 2019 2444 MW producing 5.5 TWh, an increase of about 780 MW (2.5 TWh) in 2019.[30]

In 2021, 64 wind farms had total installed wind power capacity of 4,649 MW with 706 MW of onshore power being added in 2021. Electricity produced in 2021 being 11.8 TWh or 8.5% of Norway's needs.[31]

Solar power[edit]

The national support for solar power is in place since 2008.[32] 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 inhabitant), two hundred times less than in Sweden (4 watts per inhabitant) and almost five thousand times less than in Denmark (98 watts per inhabitant).[33] However, use of solar power is growing at an accelerated pace; in 2016, installed panel capacity grew by 366%.[34] Proponents indicate that Norway has a surprisingly high capacity for solar energy capture. For instance, records from the city of Narvik show that the region can receive almost as much sunlight as southern Germany.[35] However, this is still just above a third of the solar energy that an area that receives a high amount of solar energy would receive (based on received radiation from Australia.)[36] 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.[37] NorSun is a private solar cell producer.[38]

Coal power[edit]

On the island of Svalbard about 0.108 TWh of electricity and heat is produced annually, in two coal fired power plants. The coal is mined on the island, where the surplus of coal (2/3 of production) is exported.

Other types[edit]

Norway has around 3 power plants burning natural gas, depending on how they are counted: Mongstad 280 MW CHP, Kårstø 420 MW (now closed), and Tjeldbergodden 150 MW (unused). They are rarely used, as hydropower is usually cheaper.[39]

Statkraft experiments with osmosis at Tofte.[40][41]


Norway has imported up to 10% of its electricity production during 2004-2009.[10] According to IEA, in 2015, Norway exports about 15% of its electricity generation and imports about 5%, and the net electricity export was 14.645 TWh.[42] In 2021, exports were 24.7 TWh and imports 7.6 TWh, mostly from Sweden.[43]

Norway and Sweden's grids have long been connected across the 1630 km long border. A 1 GW[44] 420 kV high-voltage link between Nea River station in Norway and Järpen (Järpströmmen station at Indalsälven river) in Sweden was commissioned in 2009.[45] Beginning in 1977 the Norwegian and Danish grids were connected across the Skagerrak with 500 MW, growing to 1,700 MW in 2015.[46] Norway's grid is connected to the Netherlands across the North Sea since 2008 with the 580-kilometre 700 MW High-voltage direct current cable NorNed. The slightly shorter but with 1400 megawatt twice as powerful NordLink HVDC undersea cable connection to Northern Germany began operation in 2021,[47] more or less replacing the Brokdorf Nuclear Power Plant which was shut down at the end of 2021, and helping Norway save hydro power when Germany has a surplus of renewable energy.

The North Sea Link HVDC Norway to Great Britain cable was opened in October 2021, while the Scotland–Norway interconnector NorthConnect is on hold due to Norwegian policy.

See also[edit]



  1. ^ a b c d e f "Electricity". Statistics Norway. 2022-07-19. Retrieved 2022-08-03.
  2. ^ "Electricity, annual figures, 2012".
  3. ^ "Norway could be Europe's green battery". Retrieved 2017-09-04.
  4. ^ "Hydropower completes greening of Norway". ScienceDaily. Retrieved 2017-09-04.
  5. ^ "Vannkraftpotensialet". Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate. 10 December 2015. Archived from the original on 18 January 2017. Retrieved 8 February 2016.
  6. ^ a b "Electricity, annual figures, 2011". ssb.no. 20 March 2013.
  7. ^ Østensen, Inger. "Fakta – Energi- og vannressurser i Norge 2013 page 24-28. http://www.regjeringen.no. Olje- og energidepartementet, november 2012.ISSN 0809-9464.
  8. ^ Energy, Ministry of Petroleum and (2016-04-15). "White Paper on Norway's energy policy: Power for Change". Government.no. Retrieved 2017-10-09.
  9. ^ 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 Archived July 4, 2011, at the Wayback Machine, 2007 T25 Archived July 4, 2011, at the Wayback Machine, 2008 T26 Archived July 4, 2011, at the Wayback Machine, 2009 T25 Archived January 20, 2011, at the Wayback Machine and 2010 T49 Archived October 16, 2013, at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ 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 Archived July 4, 2011, at the Wayback Machine, 2007 T25 Archived July 4, 2011, at the Wayback Machine, 2008 T26 Archived July 4, 2011, at the Wayback Machine, 2009 T25 Archived January 20, 2011, at the Wayback Machine and 2010 T49 Archived October 16, 2013, at the Wayback Machine.
  11. ^ a b "Annual Reports" (PDF). ieawind.org.[dead link]
  12. ^ "About us - Statnett". 6 February 2024.
  13. ^ "Vestre korridor - Projects - Statnett". Archived from the original on 2016-03-11. Retrieved 2016-02-23.
  14. ^ "Aurland-Sogndal". Statnett. 2020. Archived from the original on 5 March 2021.
  15. ^ "Oppstart av arbeid på Vestre korridor - Nettutvikling - Statnett". 9 February 2024.
  16. ^ "NORD.LINK - Projects - Statnett". 6 February 2024.
  17. ^ "Cable to the UK - Projects - Statnett". Archived from the original on 2014-10-30. Retrieved 2016-02-23.
  18. ^ Lie, Øyvind. "Nye utenlandskabler tvinger fram mer fleksibel kraftproduksjon" Teknisk Ukeblad, 22 January 2015. Accessed: 22 January 2015.
  19. ^ Nilsen, Jannicke. "«Nina» tok strømmen fra 170.000. Prisen for å sikre kraftnettet: 8 milliarder" Teknisk Ukeblad, 12 January 2015. Accessed: 12 January 2015.
  20. ^ Dalløkken, Per Erlien (21 January 2015). "Norsk selskap løste Renaults ladeproblem med oljeteknologi". tu.no. Retrieved 22 January 2015.
  21. ^ "Electric power supply system of railways in Norway". Archived from the original on 2013-04-18.
  22. ^ "Lower electricity prices in 2015". ssb.no. 25 February 2016.
  23. ^ Lie, Øyvind (6 June 2012). "Så mye dyrere blir strømmen av utenlandskabler". Teknisk Ukeblad. Retrieved 12 January 2015.
  24. ^ "Hydropower in Norway, page 15" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-01-12. Retrieved 2014-07-17.
  25. ^ Energy, Ministry of Petroleum and (2016-07-20). "The History of Norwegian Hydropower in 5 Minutes". Government.no. Retrieved 2017-10-09.
  26. ^ "Energy Policies of IEA Countries - Norway" (PDF). IEA. 2017. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 13, 2017. Retrieved October 9, 2017.
  27. ^ "Hydropower generation in Europe 2016 | Statistic". Statista. Retrieved 2017-10-09.
  28. ^ "IEA Key Stats 2010" (PDF). iea.org.
  29. ^ "Norway | International Hydropower Association". www.hydropower.org. Retrieved 2017-10-09.
  30. ^ "Vindkraft - NVE".
  31. ^ "Wind Energy in Norway". Retrieved 17 August 2023.
  32. ^ Renewables Global Status Report: REN 21 Paris 13.5.2009 page 8
  33. ^ "Global Market Outlook for Photovoltaics 2014-2018" (PDF). www.epia.org. EPIA - European Photovoltaic Industry Association. p. 24. Archived from the original (PDF) on 25 June 2014. Retrieved 12 June 2014.
  34. ^ Holm, Øystein (2016). "Norwegian IEA PVPS Task 1 representative" (PDF). IEA. Retrieved 6 September 2017.
  35. ^ "Bright future for solar energy in the north". sciencenordic.com. Retrieved 2017-10-09.
  36. ^ "The solar revolution and what it can mean for Norway" (in Norwegian Bokmål). Norwegian Board of Technology. 2017-05-11. Retrieved 2017-10-09.
  37. ^ "Orkla sells Elkem to China National Bluestar". Archived from the original on July 10, 2011.
  38. ^ "Start page".
  39. ^ Lie, Øyvind (2014-10-03). "Taper 100 millioner i året - nå stenges Kårstø-kraftverket". Tu.no. Retrieved 2024-02-04.
  40. ^ "Statkraft vurderer pilotanlegg for saltkraft på Sunndalsøra - Statkraft". statkraft.no.
  41. ^ "Old Contains the Old Folder Structure" (PDF). statkraft.no.
  42. ^ IEA. "Norway: Electricity and Heat for 2015 Archived 2018-04-21 at the Wayback Machine" IEA, 2018. Accessed: 20 April 2018.
  43. ^ "Energy-Charts". energy-charts.info.
  44. ^ Bach, Paul-Frederik. "Bottlenecks in the Nordic Grids during the Storm “Urd”" page 3. 10 January 2017
  45. ^ Energy in Sweden 2010 page 81
  46. ^ Lind, Anton. "600 kilometer søkabel skal føre strøm mellem Norge og Danmark" Danmarks Radio, 12 March 2015. Accessed: 13 March 2015.
  47. ^ Berlin, Oliver Moody. "Angela Merkel unveils €1.8bn NordLink green power line to Norway".

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]