Promoting Sustainable Electricity in Europe
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Promoting Sustainable Electricity in Europe

Challenging the Path Dependence of Dominant Energy Systems

Edited by William M. Lafferty and Audun Ruud

This is a timely and comparative assessment of initiatives to promote renewable electricity sources (RES-E) in eight European countries. Carried out by the ProSus research programme at the University of Oslo in cooperation with leading research institutions in each country, the book focuses on the promotional schemes used to foster RES-E in Austria, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain and Sweden. The book is unique in that it monitors progress on implementing the EU RES-E Directive in relation to the impact of the ‘dominant energy systems’ in each country. Employing notions of ‘path dependency/path creation’, the analysis demonstrates that crucial lessons for promoting RES-E are to be found in the contextual conditions of national and regional settings; conditions that qualify the effects of more general, market-oriented schemes. The conclusions reached are of direct relevance for the ongoing debate as to the most effective policy instruments for achieving sustainable energy and climate policies in Europe.
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Chapter 9: Norway: Trying to Maintain Maximal RES-E in a Petroleum-Driven Economy

Jørgen Knudsen, Olav Mosvold Larsen and Audun Ruud


9. Norway: trying to maintain maximal RES-E in a petroleumdriven economy Jørgen Knudsen, Olav Mosvold Larsen and Audun Ruud INTRODUCTION Norway is endowed with abundant energy resources that have been intensively exploited for decades. As one of the world’s leading producers of hydropower, Norway normally derives more than 90 per cent of its total national electricity consumption from hydro resources. Norway has, however, also become a major producer of oil and natural gas. In 2006 Norway was the third-largest exporter of crude oil in the world, and supplied Europe with about 15 per cent of its total natural-gas supply. In this regard, Norway has increasingly become a ‘petroleum-driven economy’. It is at the juncture of these two national energy traits – hydropower and petroleum – that an analysis of governance for renewable electricity (RES-E) must be conducted. One of the major trends affecting RES-E in Norway is the relationship between hydropower generation and the overall consumption of electricity. By all indications the former has reached a definite limit, while the latter continues to increase. There is, therefore, considerable concern as to the security of national electricity supply in Norway. A phasing in of ‘new’ RES-E production can in this context be viewed as one of five alternative energy options currently being discussed in the national political discourse (Box 9.1). Further expansion of large hydropower installations is no longer politically viable. In addition to a promotion of new RES-E as a direct supplement to large-scale hydropower (option 1), an increasingly...

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