Renewable Energy Status



RES-Promoting Policy Instruments


In June 2020, the previous government released a white paper on land-based wind power,
proposing changes to current practice and imposing new licencing requirements. Some of
the main measures focused on increasing local and regional involvement, better ensuring
that environmental matters were taken into consideration, and introducing new deadlines
to shorten the timeline for planning and building wind farms. The overall aim was to provide a reliable framework for long-term development of onshore wind power in Norway. In April 2022, the government announced it would resume licences in municipalities that are supportive of new applications being processed. The new framework also includes:

  • A plan for the involvement, and early notification, of neighbours and other interests.
  • Ensuring that municipalities are involved at an early stage, including through early dialogue between the municipalities, developers and the NVE, as well as a written statement from the municipalities to approve processing the impact assessment that is needed to apply for a license (for plants bigger than 10 MW).
  • Co-ordination of grid and power production, and assessing available grid capacity at an early stage.
  • Clearer licencing conditions, including distances to existing buildings, maximum turbine
    heights and environmental values. More of the conditions that affect the project design shall be determined at an earlier stage of the process, compared to previous practice.
  • Involvement of Sami interests in all stages of the process.
  • Assessment of the total impact on the reindeer industry.
  • Processing and prioritisation of applications to include documentation of co-operation with the reindeer industry and agreements on compensation and mitigating measures.

Small-scale renewable energy plants (solar, wind, hydro) with total installed capacity of less than 1 MW do not require a licence. Prosumers and small-scale community projects are thus not affected by the temporary pause in licencing. Rather, smaller projects are licensed by the municipality and regulated by the Planning and Building Act.

Current Renewable Energy Policy


RES - Electricity

Norway is part of the joint Nordic power market with Denmark, Finland and Sweden, which is in turn integrated into the wider European power market through interconnectors to Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, the Baltic states and Russia. Two new interconnectors from Norway to Europe became operational in 2021: the Nord-Link cable to Germany and the North Sea Link cable to the United Kingdom. As such, Norway’s interconnection capacity stands at 8.85 GW. Norway has historically been a net exporter of electricity to neighbouring countries, reaching a record 20.5 TWh of net exports in 2020, making it one of the largest exporters in Europe. Given Norway’s large volumes of renewable generation
capacity, it serves as a large exporter of renewable power to the Nordic region and the rest of Europe. Cross-border trade of electricity can also play a role in the European energy transition as it enables more efficient use of resources and better utilisation of energy systems. In years when water flows are exceptionally low, such as in 2004, Norway has been a net importer of electricity.
Expected additional electrification across the economy to meet climate targets as well as the development of new industries is expected to drive up power demand significantly in the coming years. New demand for electricity will come starting this decade from the industry sector, petroleum sector, data centres, production of green hydrogen and the transport sector. For example, by drawing renewables-based electricity from shore, Equinor estimates that emissions from the Johan Sverdrup oil field can drop from an average of 10 kilogrammes (kg) per barrel on the NCS to just 0.67 kg/barrel (Equinor, 2022). The owners of the Kårsø gas processing plant are currently planning partial electrification of the plant. Looking ahead to future projects, increased electrification will require an additional build-out of new renewables generation capacity. Overall, the government projects electricity demand to grow to 159 TWh in 2030 and 174 TWh in 2040, while generation will grow to 166 TWh in 2030 and 184 TWh in 2040.

The NVE expects that part of the growth in generation will come from new hydro capacity, some of which is already under construction, as well as refurbishments and upgrades to the country’s ageing fleet of existing hydro plants. While thermal capacity is expected to remain constant (at just 315 MW of installed capacity and 3.5 TWh of generation), solar photovoltaics (PV) is expected to see strong growth. Meanwhile, wind power will see very modest growth through 2025 based on licences already issued. The NVE expects offshore wind to only begin to make contributions after 2030, and produce 7 TWh of power in 2040.



RES - Heat

In Norway, households mainly use electricity for heating. A ban on the installation of fossil fuel-based heating installations in new buildings came into force in 2016. And as of 1 January 2020, a new regulation banned the use of mineral oil for heating in new and existing buildings. The measures have helped end the use of fuel oil in heating and cooling, and motivate a switch to other heating technologies, such as heat pumps, biofuels and direct electrical heating. Natural gas is still allowed in existing buildings, but it is not commonly used. New installations for natural gas heating are not allowed.

The state-owned enterprise Enova has supported the installation of local heating plants based on the following renewable sources: woodchips, pellets, briquettes, air-to-water and liquid-to-water heat pumps, and solar thermal collectors.

References & Sources for Further Reading