Norway - could it become the world’s first country to go 100% electric?

Norway could become the world’s first fully electric-powered country by 2050, according to industry advisory body Energi Norge.
Published: Fri 25 Aug 2017

Energi Norge has proposed a new plan which was handed to the country’s climate minister Vidar Helgesen.

Director Oluf Ulseth of Energi Norge said in a statement: “Climate change and job losses in the oil industry are two of the biggest challenges facing Norway today. We believe that sustainability has a huge potential to contribute in both of these areas. Our target is for Norway, based on hydropower and better collaboration between businesses and the authorities, to become the world’s first fully electric society by 2050. That will enable us to take a leading role in climate work while improving our competitiveness.”

Norway’s conversion plans

Hydropower is already responsible for producing 96% of Norway’s electricity consumption. In addition, the country has a well-developed energy system, with extensive use of electricity for domestic power supplies. According to Ulseth, this gives the country a unique opportunity to convert other sectors to electricity and thereby reduce emissions. He added that a complete conversion would require considerable effort within the transport industry, along with oil and coal. “Conversion to electricity is, along with biofuels, the key to making the transport sector emissions free, whether energy is stored in batteries or in the form of hydrogen,” he said.

As many as 110,000 electric vehicles are already on Norwegian roads, and parliament has decided that no fossil fuel-powered private cars will be sold in the country after 2025.

Oil and gas industries can also cut their emissions if rigs receive electric power from Norway’s mainland.

The move to electric will also generate employment in industry and technology, says Energi Norge. There are currently over 100 companies that are making the conversion to electricity, including the maritime sector.

“We hope that capital production in the sustainable energy industry can be doubled by 2050,” Ulseth said.

Interconnections underway

Norway’s electrification will benefit its closest neighbours, Denmark and Sweden, as the Nordic countries’ grids are already connected. The Norwegian grid will soon be connected to the United Kingdom and Germany too, as numerous interconnector projects are currently in different stages of development.

NordLink, which would connect Norway and Germany via a 500km-long subsea cable, is due to come online in 2019, while the North Sea Link with the UK is slated to be completed in 2021. There are also plans to link up with Scotland, under the NorthConnect project.

Both NordLink and NorthConnect have been the subject of EU funding under its Projects of Common Interest programme.

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