Kraftløftet: Measures to improve access to power across Norway

The green transition is increasing demand for power. However, the transition is limited by generation and network capacity. Norway has the prerequisites for success but is in danger of falling behind. “Kraftløftet” presents 11 regional action plans to ensure timely access to sufficient generation and network capacity.

Access to affordable, green power has been a competitive advantage and a prerequisite for Norwegian industry. There is currently a push to electrify Norwegian industry and transportation to meet national climate targets. If the availability of power is not increased, the consequences for industry and jobs could be significant.

To ensure sufficient access to affordable and clean power, NHO (the Confederation of Norwegian Enterprise), LO (the Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions), and the Ministry of Energy have entered into a tripartite collaboration called “Kraftløftet” (Power Lift/Promise). Through “Kraftløftet,” the three parties are working together to realise projects and rapidly implement measures to improve access to power. As part of this work, THEMA provided an understanding of the power supply situation in each of Norway’s counties.

Demand growth outstrips supply

Currently, Norway has a power surplus. In 2022, electricity consumption amounted to 133 TWh, while power generation in a normal year was 157 TWh. However, both Statnett and NVE’s analyses indicate that the gap is narrowing, and there could be a deficit in a normal year by 2030.

The number of grid connection requests made to Statnett shows a huge demand for grid capacity from new consumption and much more moderate demand from new generation projects. At the beginning of 2024, connection requests for new consumption amounted to 28.6 GW, while those for new generation amounted to just 14.4 GW.

Some planned initiatives will never be realised. As such forecasting future consumption is not as simple of simple as just totalling connection requests. However, the overall picture as of December 2023 is that there will be a surge in power demand for which Norway is not prepared.

Large regional differences

A central part of the work has been to investigate the status, needs, and opportunities relevant to the country’s 11 regions. As Norway has a weather-dependent power system and power resources are unevenly distributed around the country, failing to realise the ambitions of the “Kraftløftet” implies different challenges for different regions:

  • Troms og Finnmark are experiencing a significant increase in requests for new power generation following the decision to electrify the LNG plant on Melkøya. The region may face a deficit in a few years if more generation capacity is not developed.
  • Nordland has added a lot of wind- and hydropower in recent years. The demand for new power is enormous in the region, equivalent to more than a tripling of current capacity. Planned new generation is minimal, and the region is heading towards a power deficit.
  • Trøndelag has seen significant growth in wind capacity in recent years but is requesting a considerable amount of network capacity for new consumption. Tensio shows that requests for new consumption are as much as the current maximum load in Trøndelag.
  • Møre og Romsdal apart from Oslo and Akershus, is the region with the largest power deficit. The region has the highest share of industrial consumption and the least requested network capacity for new power generation.
  • Vestland has the highest generation and the largest power surplus in Norway. If all requested consumption and generation is realised, the region will go from having the country’s largest power surplus to a deficit of 10 TWh.
  • Innlandet has a surplus of power on an annual basis, but a large share of non-dispatchable run-of-river hydropower makes the region dependent on imports during periods of low precipitation. There are many requests for connection for both new consumption and solar power, but network capacity constraints are limiting development.
  • Oslo og Akershus have the highest consumption and the lowest generation in Norway. Oslo and Akershus are among the regions with the fewest connection requests for new generation and Elvia, the distribution network, has reported that new major consumption connections may not be possible in the region until 2030–2035.
  • Østfold has similar consumption and generation volumes. However, run-of-river hydropower in Indre Østfold has little or no ability to control the timing of generation. As a result, generation is weather-dependent and the region is sometimes entirely dependent on imported power to meet demand. To connect new consumption, network capacity into the region needs to be strengthened and new local power generation needs to be established.
  • Buskerud has good access to hydropower in the northwest, but limited grid capacity in the southeast, where most new consumption wants to connect to the grid.
  • Vestfold og Telemark have a lot of industries wanting to electrify, in addition to new industries wanting to establish themselves. This results in a huge increase in expected demand, despite little planned new generation in the region.
  • Agder has good access to hydropower in its inland municipalities but industry is located along the coast. The region has a lot of demand for power to supply new connections. Other than the Sørlige Nordsjø II (Southern North Sea II) offshore wind development, the connection to which is expected to make landfall in Agder, the region has very little new planned generation.
  • Rogaland is the only region with a positive difference between expected new generation and new consumption. However, new generation in the region is highly dependent on the development of floating offshore wind in Utsira Nord.

A comprehensive action plan

Based on the local situation and relevant challenges, LO and NHO have developed an action plan for each region that aims to address local barriers to accessing power.

The proposed measures for each region include, among others:

  • Creating understanding and acceptance of the need for new power generation and increased network capacity
  • Accelerating the concession and licensing process
  • Using (waste) heat resources to the fullest extent possible
  • Strengthening energy efficiency efforts
  • Using existing grid capacity to a greater extent

The project also provides some overarching recommendations for a national ‘kraftløft’:

  • Implement necessary measures now, despite challenges
  • Develop a comprehensive and concrete national plan to achieve an additional 60 TWh of renewable generation
  • Optimise the conditions for renewable power development to support investment and profitable projects in line with society’s needs
  • Increase the speed of grid development and implement those measures recommended in Statnett’s prioritised power corridors. Better utilization of existing grid capacity is also necessary.
  • Streamline the concessions processes through dialogue and knowledge sharing to help avoid conflicts and foster a common understanding
  • oin up energy, climate, industrial and security policy

“Kraftløftet” will be updated annually and targets 2030. The work takes a bottom-up approach, examining the power situation in each region of Norway and then proposing measures that address local barriers and needs. It also includes a national report. The reports from 2023 can be read here: LO – Kraftløftet


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