Trends in energy use

During the past 26 years, Norway’s population has risen by 22 %, and the value of the Norwegian economy has doubled. However, final energy consumption in mainland Norway has only risen by 12 % in the same period. This excludes non-energy use of energy carriers (i.e. use as raw materials). Mainland Norway excludes Svalbard and Jan Mayen.
Trends in overall Norwegian energy use

Trends in final energy consumption in Norway

Most of the rise in energy use after 1990 took place before 2000, see the figure below. Up to 1999, there was a steady rise in energy use in all sectors of the mainland economy. Since then, household energy use has levelled off , and energy use in manufacturing has declined. Final energy consumption totalled 212.5 TWh in 2015, which is somewhat lower than the average since 2000.

Final energy consumption 1990-2015

Updated: 03.05.2017

Final energy consumption in Norway. Total in 1990: 189 TWh; in 2015: 212.5 TWh.

Source: Statistics Norway

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Final energy consumption 1990-2015 – Final energy consumption in Norway. Total in 1990: 189 TWh; in 2015: 212.5 TWh.

Two main factors explain these trends. Firstly, the economy as a whole has shifted towards less energy-intensive activities, which require less energy per unit produced. The service sector has grown, and manufacturing accounts for a smaller share of the economy.

Secondly, energy use has become more efficient. Technological developments have given us more efficient machinery and equipment, there has been a switch from fossil energy sources to electricity, and targeted action has been taken to improve energy efficiency. All of these factors have moderated growth in energy use.

The growth of the economy as a whole, and particularly the rise in private consumption, has resulted in rising energy use for the transport of people and goods. There has been a steady rise in energy use in the transport sector since 1990, in contrast to the situation in other sectors. In 2015, energy use for transport was 40 % higher than in 1990. However, wider use of diesel and technological advances have made energy use more efficient. Energy use measured per person-kilometre and per tonne-kilometre was lower in 2015 than in 1990.

The overall result is that the Norwegian economy has become gradually less energy-intensive over the past 26 years. The figure below shows that the energy intensity of the Norwegian economy has declined by more than 40 % since 1990. This indicates that economic growth and energy use have become less tightly coupled in Norway in the same period.

Energy intensity

Updated: 03.05.2017

Energy intensity in the Norwegian mainland economy, shown as percentage change since 1990

Source: Statistics Norway

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Energy intensity – Energy intensity in the Norwegian mainland economy, shown as percentage change since 1990

Energy intensity in the Norwegian mainland economy, shown as percentage change since 1990.

Per capita energy use has also declined in Norway during this period, and was 8 % lower in 2015 than in 1990 (see the figure below).

Per capita energy use

Updated: 03.05.2017

Per capita energy use in Norway, shown as percentage change since 1990

Source: Statistics Norway

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Per capita energy use – Per capita energy use in Norway, shown as percentage change since 1990

The same trend can be seen for per capita energy use in the household sector. Average per capita energy use in the household sector has declined, and was nearly 10 % lower in 2015 than in 1990. This reduction occurred despite a reduction in the number of people per household, an increase in the living space per person, and the fact that the value of private consumption has more than doubled. Various factors have helped to reduce energy use in the household sector, including the introduction of more energy-efficient equipment, stricter building regulations and the increasing use of electricity and heat pumps for heating people’s homes.

Trends in per capita consumption, per capita living space and per capita energy use in the household sector in Norway

Source: Statistics Norway

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Trends in per capita consumption, per capita living space and per capita energy use in the household sector in Norway
Updated: 27.02.2018