Energy use by sector

Electricity accounts for a large proportion of energy use in Norway. There is a large energy-intensive manufacturing sector, and electricity is widely used to heat buildings and water. However, Norway also uses large amounts of fossil fuels, particularly for transport and in construction and agricultural machinery.
Electricity accounts for a large proportion of energy use in Norway. There is a large energy-intensive manufacturing sector, and electricity is widely used to heat buildings and water. However, Norway also uses large amounts of fossil fuels, particularly for transport and in construction and agricultural machinery.
Manufacturing Service industries Households Transport Other sectors

In 2015, final energy consumption in Norway totalled 212,5 TWh. As the figure below shows, manufacturing and transport were the sectors that used most energy in 2015, followed by services and households. Other sectors such as construction, agriculture and forestry and fisheries accounted for only a small proportion of energy use. This pattern has not changed much since 1990, although total energy use has risen by about 23 TWh during this period.

Final energy consumption in Norway, excluding non-energy use, 2015

Download as image (PNG)

Final energy consumption in Norway split by energy carrier. Total in 2015: 212.5 TWh. Source: Statistics Norway

The figure shows that electricity is the dominant energy carrier, followed by petroleum products. Electricity dominates energy use in manufacturing, the household sector and service industries, while petroleum products account for a large proportion of energy use in sectors that make heavy use of transport and machinery. District heating and natural gas account for only a small share of energy use, but this has been increasing in recent years. Consumption of district heating has risen, particularly in service industries and households, while there has been an increase in the use of gas in manufacturing industries and the transport sector. These energy carriers have been replacing fuel oil for heating and coal, coke and heavier petroleum products in industrial processes.


Manufacturing accounts for a larger share of final energy consumption than any other sector, almost 31 % in 2015. This sector includes a wide variety of industries with differing energy needs, but energy use in the sector as a whole generally reflects Norway’s extensive use of electricity. Electricity currently makes up about 66 % of energy use in the sector.


Power-intensive manufacturing accounted for over three-quarters of total energy use in the manufacturing sector in 2015, or about 51 TWh. Of this, 70 % was electricity. One reason for the high electricity share is that aluminium production, which is highly energy intensive, is almost exclusively electricity-based. Other energy sources, particularly gas, coal and coke, account for a larger share of energy use in the production of other metals, basic chemicals and cement. The pulp and paper industry relies heavily on electricity but also uses some biomass.


As a result of structural changes in the economy, the share of energy used by the manufacturing sector has dropped from 38 % in 1990 to 31 % in 2015. A number of energy-intensive companies and plants have closed, while there has been an increase in activity in other parts of the manufacturing sector. Together with the introduction of more energy-efficient production technology, this has given a reduction in energy use. At the same time, the value of production has increased, so that the Norwegian manufacturing sector produced more value per unit of energy in 2015 than in 1990.


The structural changes have also resulted in changes in the mix of energy carriers used. Production of aluminium and basic chemicals, which uses large amounts of electricity and gas, has risen, while pulp and paper production, which extensive heavy use of biofuel, and iron manufacturing, which uses large amounts of coal and coke, have declined. In 2015, electricity, district heating and natural gas all accounted for a larger share of energy use in manufacturing than in 1990, while the proportions of coal, coke and oil were lower. The proportions of biofuel and waste have remained unchanged.

Service industries

Service industries accounted for 15 % of final energy consumption in Norway in 2015. This sector mainly uses energy in buildings, for space heating, heating water, lighting and operating electrical equipment. Electricity is the only energy source for the last two items in this list, while there are alternatives for space heating and heating water. Electricity made up 79 % of energy use in the service industries in 2015.


Petroleum products have normally been the next most widely used energy source in the service sector, but have accounted for a much smaller share of energy use than electricity. Annual consumption of petroleum products in the service sector is about 2.9 TWh, but only about 1.5 TWh is used for heating. District heating has for some years been the most widely used energy source for heating after electricity in this sector.


Although energy use has risen in the service sector, energy intensity has been declining because production has risen more rapidly than energy use.


Patterns of energy use in the household and service sectors show many similarities. In both sectors, heating, lighting and electrical equipment account for a large proportion of overall energy use.

Electricity is the most widely used energy carrier in households, just as it is in the service sector. The share of electricity in the energy mix has been increasing, reaching 83 % in 2015. This is explained by the increasing use of electrical equipment and steps to phase out the use of fossil energy sources for heating. Fossil fuel use was four times higher in 1990 than in 2015.

Biofuels account for the second largest share of energy used for heating in households. In 2015, biofuels supplied about 5.6 TWh of energy use. Most of this energy is in the form of fuelwood, but households also use pellets and bio-oils.

Energy use in households totalled 45 TWh in 2015, or 21 % of final energy consumption.


Household expenditure on energy use

Household expenditure on energy, and the proportion of household income used on energy, depends on prices, taxes and the amount of energy used. Various factors influence household energy use. They include dwelling size, the number of people in a household, the climate, energy prices and technical standards.

Household expenditure on energy has risen since 1991, but incomes have also risen, moderating the effect of higher energy prices. In 2012, household expenditure on energy was equivalent to 4.2 % of household income, up from 3.1 % in 1991. Expenditure rose most rapidly until the early 2000s, a period when both energy prices and energy use per person were rising. By way of comparison, lighting and fuel accounted for 6 % of household expenditure in Norway 50 years ago.

Expenditure on energy as a share of household income in Norway is a little below the European average. Norwegian electricity prices are relatively low, and Norwegians use more electricity for heating, while other countries use natural gas and other energy carriers. Average household electricity consumption in the EU is between 2 500 and 5 000 kWh per year, and the average end-user price of electricity corresponded to NOK 1.9 per kWh in 2013. In Norway, average household electricity consumption is 16 000 kWh per year, and the average price was NOK 1.1 per kWh in 2013.

In Sweden and Finland, household expenditure on energy makes up a smaller proportion of income than in Norway, but the difference is small. In other nearby countries – the UK, the Netherlands, Germany and Denmark – energy use accounts for a larger share of household income.

Space heating in buildings

Space heating accounts for a large proportion of energy use in buildings in Norway. It is estimated that 78 % of household energy use is for heating buildings and water.

Electricity makes up between 70 and 80 % of the energy used to heat buildings, depending on various factors including prices. Oil and gas has traditionally supplied the rest. Oil-fired heating has been widely used in both residential and other buildings, while fuelwood has mainly been used in private homes. In recent years, there has been a switch from fossil energy sources to electricity, district heating and heat pumps for heating purposes in buildings. Sales of fuel oils and heating kerosene have dropped by more than 70 % since 1990, to about 2.7 TWh in 2015. The volume of district heating delivered has risen from 0.8 TWh to 4.7 TWh per year in the same period, and estimated heat production by heat pumps has risen from about 0.4 TWh to about 15 TWh in the same period, as shown in the figure below.

Heat pumps

Heat pumps have become much more widely used, particularly in the last 15 years. By 2014, there were about 736 000 heat pumps in Norway. Heat pumps generate heat by extracting energy from the surroundings. The process uses some electricity, but much less than electric radiators or water heaters use to produce the same amount of heat. In 2014, it is estimated that in Norway, heat pumps used 6 TWh of electricity and produced 15 TWh of heat. The ratio between the electricity input and the heat output of a heat pump is called its coefficient of performance.

Heat pumps generally extract heat from the air outside a building, from the ground, or from a river, lake or the sea. The most important difference between these three sources is that the ground or water temperature is much more stable over a 24-hour period and over the year than the air temperature. Cold weather means that the coefficient of performance of an air source heat pump is low in winter. The lower the air temperature, the less heat an air source heat pump can deliver. On cold days it will often be necessary to supplement a heat pump with other heating sources, for example wood-burning stoves or electric radiators.

The great majority of heat pumps in operation in Norway today are air source heat pumps. This is probably because they do not require a water-based heating system in the building and are therefore considerably cheaper to install. Only about 4 % of heat pumps installed over the past 25 years have been water source heat pumps.

District heating

The proportion of district heating in the Norwegian energy supply system has risen since 2000. In 2015, district heating deliveries totalled 4.8 TWh, three times as much as in 2000. This is equivalent to about one tenth of the total need for energy to heat buildings and water in Norway.

A district heating system supplies consumers with hot water or steam from a central heat source via insulated pipelines. In most cases, district heating plants are constructed where there is access to a low-cost heat source such as heat from waste incineration or other heat that would otherwise be wasted. Most district heating systems of any size are in Norway’s largest towns. In Oslo alone, consumption of district heating is now 1.6 TWh per year, and district heating can meet up to 25 % of Oslo’s peak energy demand. In all, 89 district heating systems of varying sizes have been established in 75 municipalities.

District heating can be produced using many different types of fuel. Waste has been the most important of these for some years, and accounted for 60 % of district heating production in 2015. About 23 % came from bioenergy which was the next largest energy source. More and more bioenergy has been used to produce district heating over the past ten years, while the use of petroleum products has declined steeply.

About two-thirds of district heating production is delivered to the service sector, for example buildings used by health services, cultural and research activities and as offices. The remaining volume of district heating is delivered to blocks of flats and to the manufacturing sector.


Energy use in the transport sector totalled 57.6 TWh in 2015, corresponding to 27 % of final energy consumption. Of this, 76 % was used for road transport, and the rest for domestic shipping, domestic aviation and rail transport.

The demand for transport services increases with population growth and rising prosperity. Since 1990, goods and passenger transport have increased by 102 % and 48 % respectively, and overall energy use in the transport sector has risen by 40 %. However, most of the growth in transport volumes and energy use took place before 2007, and there has been almost no change in energy use since then.

Almost all the energy used in the transport sector is from petroleum products – 54.2 TWh, or 94 % of energy use in the sector. This is 77 % of all net final consumption of petroleum products in Norway. The mix of petroleum products has changed since 1990; petrol consumption has been halved, and diesel consumption has doubled.

The proportion of energy use for transport from sources other than petroleum products has risen to 6 % as a result of increasing use of biofuels for land transport and of gas for maritime transport. In 2015, biofuels provided 1.7 TWh, natural gas 1.4 TWh and electricity 0.7 TWh. There has been a substantial increase in the number of gas-powered ships in recent years, and also an increase in the use of natural gas in land transport. In addition, more electricity is being used in maritime transport, both in combination with other fuels (hybrid ships) and alone. In 2016, regular deliveries of aviation biofuel to Oslo Airport Gardermoen started up.

Electrification of the railways in Norway: installation of the overhead system at Stavanger station.
Photo: Olaf Ellingsen, Norwegian Railway Museum.

Although electrification of the transport sector started early, electricity still only accounts for a small share of energy use. In 2015, electricity made up only 1.2 % of energy use in the sector, and was almost exclusively used by railways, trams and other light rail systems. There has been only a marginal increase in electricity use since 1990, but a steep rise in the volume of rail-based transport. In 1990, 115 million journeys were made by rail, while in 2015 the figure had risen to 233 million. This shows that energy efficiency has been substantially improved since 1990.

In recent years, the number of electric vehicles on Norwegian roads has risen steeply. At the end of 2016, there were about 100 000 registered electric vehicles.

The shift towards electric means of transport has been greatest for passenger cars, but purely electric or hybrid vehicle/vessel types are also being developed for other transport segments. Some electric ferries are already in use and more are on the way, various towns are testing electric buses, and the first electric vans are already on the roads.

Other sectors

Energy use in other sectors – fishing, agriculture and forestry, and construction – totals 11 TWh or 5.2 % of final energy consumption. In all these sectors, a large proportion of energy is used for machinery, equipment and vessels that are not included in the transport sector. These run largely on fossil fuels, and petroleum products therefore make up a relatively large proportion of energy use in all three sectors.

Updated: 27.02.2018