An important goal of public funding for research and innovation is to encourage industry-run projects and technology initiatives. Close cooperation between academia, the business community and the authorities is of crucial importance for achieving results. High-quality research groups and substantial industrial activity in Norway are based on utilisation of our energy resources.
- Ensure long-term development of knowledge, expertise and technology
- Develop competitive products and services that can promote more business development and value creation in Norway
- Reduce potential negative environmental and climate impacts of activities in this field through knowledge development and new technological solutions
- Enhance knowledge as a basis for policy development and sound management of Norway’s energy resources.
Energi21 was established by the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy in 2008 and is Norway’s national strategy for research, development, demonstration and commercialisation of new energy technology.
Energi21 encompasses the whole energy sector, and gives advice to the authorities on the strategic use of public-sector research funding. Energi21 has a permanent board including representatives of representatives from energy and supplier companies, industry associations, research and educational institutions, and public authorities. The Research Council of Norway serves as the secretariat.
The Energi21 strategy was revised in 2018. In its fourth national research strategy, Energi21 recommends a growth in the focus on new energy technology and a priority effort aimed at the following priority areas:
- Digitized and integrated energy systems.
- Climate-friendly energy technologies for maritime transport.
- Solar power for an international market.
- Offshore wind for an international market.
- Hydropower as the backbone of Norwegian energy supply.
- Climate-friendly and energy-efficient industry including CO2 handling.
The focus areas and related recommendations from Energi21 are discussed in more detail in the main report: https://www.energi21.no/siteassets/energi21strategi2018lr.pdf
The Research Council of Norway
The Research Council of Norway is responsible for managing most of the public funding available for energy research. The funding is allocated to various programmes and funding schemes that together cover the entire energy field, including effective energy use, renewable energy and carbon capture and storage. The programmes employ funding instruments that cover long-term basic and applied research, technology development, small-scale pilot projects and social science research. Public funding is available to cover 100 % of the costs of basic research. Private actors are required to provide at least 50 % of the funding for projects further along the innovation chain.
The most important initiatives in the energy field are the research programme ENERGIX and the Centres for Environment-friendly Energy Research (FME scheme).
The ENERGIX programme provides funding for research on renewable energy, efficient use of energy, environment-friendly energy for transport, sustainable energy systems and energy policy. It is one of the most clearly industry-oriented programmes funded by the Research Council. It includes not only the energy sector but also energy-related research and development in the construction, transport, manufacturing, maritime and agricultural sectors. About 80 % of the projects in the programme portfolio are headed by or include participation by Norwegian business and industry. Several hundred different companies are involved in current ENERGIX projects. Such strong involvement of the private sector ensures that the projects that receive support are relevant to and useful for the business sector.
The decision to establish the Centres for Environment-friendly Energy Research (FME scheme) was taken in 2008 as part of the follow-up to the cross-party agreement on climate policy. The purpose of the scheme is to establish time-limited research centres which conduct concentrated, focused and long-term research of high international calibre in order to solve specific challenges in the energy sector.
The Research Council of Norway provides 50 % of the funding for the centres, 25 % must come from the host research institutions, and at least 25 % from business and other user partners. The user partners are expected to play an active part in running the centres, providing funding and carrying out research. The overall objective of the FME scheme is to solve key challenges in the energy sector, generate solutions for the low-emission society and enhance the innovation capacity of the business sector. The centres can have a life span of up to eight years. Initially, eight centres for research in various fields of technology were established in 2009, and a further three for social science-related energy research in 2011. In 2016, funding was granted for eight new centres, focusing on hydropower, smart grids, energy efficiency in trade and industry, environment-friendly transport, carbon storage and capture (CCS), solar cells, biofuels and zero-emission urban zones.
CLIMIT is a national programme for research, development and demonstration of technologies for capture, transport and storage of carbon from fossil-based power production and industry. The programme supports projects in all stages of the development chain, from long-term basic research to build expertise to demonstration projects for CCS technologies. The main focus is on technology development, but it is also considered important to identify opportunities for future commercialisation and value creation in Norwegian industry.
The CLIMIT programme involves collaboration between Gassnova SF and the Research Council of Norway. The Research Council manages research and development, while Gassnova manages piloting and demonstration activities. The board for the CLIMIT programme makes decisions on funding awards.
Participation in international cooperation on energy research is a high priority and an important supplement to national research programmes. Close and productive cooperation across national borders enables us to find solutions to joint problems, improves the calibre of Norwegian research and technology activities, builds up the knowledge base and opens the way for business cooperation.
Horizon 2020 is the EU's framework programme for research and innovation for the period 2014–2020, and is by far the most important international cooperation forum for Norwegian energy research. The priority themes for Horizon 2020 largely overlap with Norwegian research priorities. Norwegian research groups and the Norwegian business sector have generally had a good deal of success when they have participated in calls for proposals for energy research under EU framework programmes.
The International Energy Agency (IEA) has established a number of research programmes on various energy topics. Norway is taking part in several of these. Norwegian participants may be from industry, research institutions or the authorities.
Nordic Energy Research is an institution under the Nordic Council of Ministers. Its purpose is to strengthen national research programmes and research institutes in the Nordic region and to draw up a joint research and development strategy for energy topics that are of common Nordic interest.
Enova plays a part in maturation and market introduction of new energy and climate technology, and offers investment grants for full-scale demonstration projects for energy and climate technology. Enova has a special responsibility for focusing on new energy and climate technologies in industry. The overall objective is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote a long-term shift towards more environmentally friendly energy consumption and production
The main objective of Innovation Norway is to promote business development that is profitable in business and socio-economic terms, and to unlock the potential for business development in different regions of the country.