EGU General Assembly 2023
© Author(s) 2023. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Where will the Norwegian wind power go? Comparison of generation and transmission expansion scenarios.

Maximilian Roithner1, James Price2, Johannes Schmidt3, and Marianne Zeyringer1
Maximilian Roithner et al.
  • 1University of Oslo, Department for Technology Systems, Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences, Kjeller, Norway (
  • 2Bartlett School Env, Energy & Resources, Faculty of the Built Environment, University College London, London, United Kingdom (
  • 3Department of Economics and Social Sciences, Institute for Sustainable Economic Development, BOKU University, Vienna, Austria

The Norwegian electricity demand has been almost entirely (~95 %) met by hydropower (~140 TWh of annual production, ~30GW of installed generation capacity), and low power prices were predominant for years. This has led to the development of industry and consumer dependence on ubiquitous cheap energy. The energy price shock in 2022 elevated price levels and opens multiple possible futures. With rising demand to be expected through electrification, increases in wind power generation capacity have been discussed and at least onshore been met with scepticism, and acceptance issues. As the export of energy in the form of oil and gas has been a major source of income for Norway that is now sought to be replaced, additional stakes join the discussion. Ideas of energy intensive industry such as battery production or data centres which would rely on low electricity prices, while also bringing demand increases, have been expressed. 

The future path splits between (further) integration into the European power system and (more) isolation of the Norwegian system. This would be expressed through electricity transmission and generation equipment expansion, which are important measures to ensure the adequacy and low carbon intensity of future nation- or continent-wide power systems. Policies may be measured by different competing targets, such as national price levels (which if low are favourable for industry), transnational carbon intensity (which if low helps to reach climate targets) or cross-border electricity trade (which if high helps to balance the system and generates income for the exporter). 

 We explore those trade-offs with Norway as a case study. The technical potential for North Sea offshore wind generation expansion is evident, and policy targets to expand offshore wind generation to the level of current hydropower generation (the highest in Europe) exist. Yet, the expansion of subsea transmission capacities (which would allow for more balancing through the Norwegian hydro reservoirs) seems to be on hold. Using the expansion and dispatch optimizing power system model highRES, we present scenarios for different degrees of expansion of offshore wind generation and (mostly subsea) transmission, to illustrate the crossroads in Norwegian energy policy, whose outcome could impact the European system.

How to cite: Roithner, M., Price, J., Schmidt, J., and Zeyringer, M.: Where will the Norwegian wind power go? Comparison of generation and transmission expansion scenarios., EGU General Assembly 2023, Vienna, Austria, 24–28 Apr 2023, EGU23-15736,, 2023.

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