Energy Governance in Norway: Too Much of a Good Thing?

In Michèle Knodt and Jörg Kemmerzell (eds), Handbook of Energy Governance in Europe. Springer, 2019, 25 p.

Norway faces energy and climate transition challenges very different from those of most other European countries: power production is already decarbonized, but domestic emissions are rising due to increased emissions from oil and gas exploration and transport. A “global cost-efficiency” discourse has dominated Norwegian climate politics, and yet the country has adopted a wide range of domestic climate and energy transition measures across sectors. This chapter reviews the climate and energy governance literature, focusing on the transition of the Norwegian stationary electricity system (production, transmission, and use of electricity) but also the overarching energy transition challenges relating to offshore petroleum production and energy use in transportation. The emergence of a green electricity surplus and sinking power prices have triggered discussion of whether Norway should build more interconnectors or use cheap, clean power to attract new domestic industry. With the electricity system transition, the political discourse has centered on the dilemmas related to having too much of a good thing: plentiful and steadily increasing renewable power production from large-scale hydropower. Norwegian authorities must walk the fine line between power-producers and energy-intensives, discontinuing the renewable support scheme after 2020 while aiming at modest expansion of interconnectors.