NCE - Norways Role for the Transition to Renewables - Observing a National Debate - Christian Kunze
German Norwegian Energy Forum 2013
“Norway´s Role for the Transition
to Renewables – Observing a
Christian Kunze, NCE Smart Energy Markets
Berlin, 24th of October, 2013
General Direction Statements
• Boosting private enterprise through trimming taxes and bureaucracy
• USD 17bn fund to improve transport and communications
• Oil wealth to be turned towards investment in knowledge and
• Growth‐enhancing tax cuts
• Support of sustainable companies and projects in developing
countries and emerging markets – likelihood that more that 14
percent of annual proceeds from the oil fund will be spent
• Investment in renewable energy, also from Norfund, under
International Energy Policy Aspects
• Credits to outgoing government by many observers
Former government has strived to position Norway as a leader in the
international climate policy field, through large financial contributions and an
active role in the UN climate negotiations. Prime Minister Stoltenberg served as
chair of the UN Secretary‐General’s High‐Level Panel on Climate Finance in 2010,
and Norway is currently a member of the board of the Green Climate Fund.
• Potentially Unchanged Direction
It is expected that Norway’s commitment and approach to actively influence
international climate policy will remain largely unchanged – despite a change to
the right, the incoming coalition supported in general the same climate policy
measures as the outgoing government The main pillars of Norwegian climate
policy are therefore not likely to be affected by the change in government:
Emission reduction targets for 2020 will be kept, Norway will still ratify the
second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, and climate cash for tropical
forests will continue to flow.
Climate Policy Aspects
• “Norway Paradox”
Despite the aforementioned contributions, some journalists observe a “Norway
paradox” – on the one hand, a major oil‐producer with relatively high per capita
emissions when compared to other European countries. On the other, a country
perceived to be a leader in international climate policy, pledging billions of
dollars to reduce deforestation in developing countries (REDD+) and taking on
high‐profile roles in UN bodies.
• National Climate Policy
The government intends to implement an ambitious national climate policy with
a long‐term transition into a low carbon economy until 2050. In addition, a new
«green tax commission» is set‐up in order to develop proposals for a shift to
green taxes in order to support the climate protection ambitions.
• International Climate Policy
Intention to continue the activities in the role as driver for the setting of an
international CO2 price and effective, working international carbon markets.
Furthermore, the strengthening of the EU carbon scheme will be supported.
National Energy & Climate Policy
• National Continuation of “Balancing Act”
Regardless of the international role, in domestic policy, climate change
mitigation is a highly contested issue, frequently clashing with industry demands
for expanding oil exploration and increasing the use of natural gas. Initial
statements to “seek to facilitate increased use of gas in Norwegian industry with
the aim of replacing oil and liquefied petroleum gas, which provide a better
export return, encouraging investment and also improving the power supply to
areas far from hydroelectric plants.” Implications for reforms in the Norwegian
• Boost of Renewable Supply
To boost the supply, the coalition parties promised to increase output from
renewables, and to speed up licensing of domestic power cables needed to
connect wind farms. The country already meets about 95 percent of its own
needs from hydropower, but generates less power from wind than its Nordic
• Certificate System
Intention to evaluate adjustments with regards to the electricity certificates.
European Integration of the Norwegian Electricity
• Ownership and Operation of Interconnectors
The two parties said they would change the energy law to allow groups other
than the state‐owned Statnett to own and operate power interconnectors
between Norway and the rest of Europe. This is a change compared to the
previous government that said Statnett should have a monopoly on
• The policy change could help to revive plans by a group of companies including
Norwegian utilities Agder Energi and Lyse to build a link to Britain. However, the
NorthConnect project has already suffered a setback with the withdrawal of its
British partner, the power utility SSE.
• While promising more competition in cable building, the coalition parties said
they would "ensure a good balance between the development of new
generation (capacities) and new interconnectors."
• There are many position statements published by the new government, but
the “fine tuning” is yet to follow and then the national debate might start.
• On a national level, additional support for the implementation and growth of
renewable energy is expected to be implemented.
• There is no indication that Norway will step out of its leading role in
supporting the transition to green energy internationally by active
participation in high level international political functions.