New Report on Norwegian Energy Policy

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Scandinavian country’s energy policies are a positive example for others to follow, according to new report

Norway  is  pursuing  ambitious,  forward-thinking  energy  policies,  but  could  go  further  in  its efforts to become a low-carbon economy, the International Energy Agency (IEA) has concluded in a review published today.

Energy Policies  of  IEA Countries  - Norway  2011 Review  says  that  it will  be  challenging  for Norway  to meet  its 2020  target of  reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 30% compared with 1990  levels,  because  both  the  country’s  electricity  supply  and  its  energy  use  in  buildings  are already essentially carbon-free due to hydropower use.

The authors add, however, that because of the large revenue generated from oil and gas exports, Norway is particularly well-placed to invest in developing new solutions to achieve the desired low-carbon  future. These solutions  include new measures  to promote greater energy efficiency and use of renewable energy.

“Norway’s climate and energy policies stand out as a positive example for other countries,” said Nobuo Tanaka, Executive Director of the IEA, at the launch of the review in Oslo, on 15 March. “But Norway must now invest in developing new measures in order to continue moving forward towards its ultimate goal of becoming carbon-neutral by 2050.”

Transparent and competent

The study notes that as the third-largest exporter of energy in the world after Russia and Saudi Arabia,  Norway  improves  the  energy  security  of  consuming  countries  (or  uninterrupted availability of energy at an affordable price).

The  authors  find  that  Norway  has  a  consistent  and  predictable  regulatory  framework  for exploration  and  production,  and  it manages  both  its  oil  and  gas  resources  and  revenue  in  a transparent and competent manner.

“The IEA acknowledges Norway’s contribution to global energy security and regards its oil and gas  resource  and  revenue management  as  commendable.  It  is  a model  for  other  countries  to follow,” Mr Tanaka said. “The next challenge for the government is to stimulate increases in oil and gas production with safe and environmentally sustainable operations.” 

Efficient electricity sector

The IEA review also commends the continued reliability and efficient performance of Norway’s electricity sector.

It adds that Norway, with its large hydropower capacity, can play a significant role as European electricity markets  integrate  and  variable  renewable  energy  generation  increases. For  this,  the report stresses that the planned interconnections should be implemented swiftly.

“The IEA encourages Norway to use its hydropower capacity, the largest in Europe after Russia, to balance variations in demand and supply in the expanding regional market,” the authors write. “This would increase flexibility and efficiency in the integrating regional electricity market and, therefore, enhance European electricity security.” 

The  report  adds  that Norway  can  also  to  help meet  the  electricity  demand  in  the  region  by temporarily  relaxing  a  ban  on  the  construction  of  gas-fired  power  plants which  lack  Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS). This would, the report says, help lower CO2 emissions in the region as well as help ensure security of supply.

Tackling climate change

With its strong commitment to global climate change mitigation, Norway has set a fine example to other countries, the report says. 

As well as noting that public funding for research, development and deployment of clean energy has more  than tripled from 2007  to 2009,  the study flags Norway’s global  leadership as one of the front-runners of CCS.

“[Norway]  hosts  two  of  the  world’s  five  large-scale  CCS  projects,  and  the  government  is strongly  committed  to  significant  support  of  further  CCS  technology  development, demonstration and widespread deployment,” the authors write.

However,  the  review  flags  oil  and  gas  production, manufacturing  and  transport  as  areas with most potential for further cuts in energy-related greenhouse-gas emissions. It adds that further efforts to promote energy efficiency and renewable energy should also be a significant area of focus.

The  IEA  report  recommends  that  the Norwegian government develop a  roadmap outlining  the path  to a carbon-neutral  future. Once  this has been adopted,  the authors write,  the government should begin to implement it without delay. 
 

Source: IEA

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