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. District heating has a total installed effect of 3 600 MW.
District heating is most widely used in Norway’s largest towns. In 2015, consumption of district heating in Oslo totalled 1.6 TWh.
District heating can be produced using many different types of fuel. In 2015, about 50 % of district heating was produced from waste and about 20 % from bioenergy. The use of bioenergy is increasing, while the use of petroleum products has declined steeply.
About two-thirds of district heating production is used in buildings in the service sector, such as hospitals, buildings used for cultural and research activities, and office buildings. District heating is also used in blocks of flats and in the manufacturing sector.
District heating is a useful supplement to electricity. District heating can replace electricity consumption for heating purposes in winter and thus limit the need for investment in the power supply system. District heating systems can use electricity as an energy source when prices are low and other energy carriers when electricity prices are high. In Oslo, district heating can meet 25 % of peak energy demand.
In 2015, district cooling deliveries in Norway totalled 169 GWh. The number of suppliers of district cooling in Norway rose from three in 2001 to about 20 in 2013. Most of them also supply district heating. Most district cooling production uses heat pumps. The customers are all in the service industries.
In 2015, Norway produced 114 billion standard cubic metres (Sm3) of natural gas from the Norwegian continental shelf. About 95 % of this was exported through the North gas pipeline network to the UK and continental Europe. In 2015, 4.7 billion Sm3 was used for various processes during oil and gas extraction.
Gas is delivered to five onshore facilities in Norway: Melkøya, Tjeldbergodden, Nyhamna, Kollsnes and Kårstø. Gas delivered to these facilities is available for use in Norway. One large consumer is Tjeldbergodden, which has a methanol plant using natural gas as feedstock.
There are also power plants at these facilities which use gas to produce electricity and heat. They include the combined heat and power plant at Mongstad and the gas-fired power plants at Melkeøya (Hammerfest). In 2015, natural gas was used in Norway to produce a total of 4.5 TWh electricity and heat.
In 2015, a further 4.9 TWh of natural gas was distributed to end users in Norway or used for small-scale distribution of liquefied natural gas (LNG). Pipeline distribution accounts for about 40 % of this, through two pipeline networks in Rogaland county. One network is 120 km long and supplies end users in the north-western part of the county, and the other is 620 km long and supplies gas in the Stavanger district. The volume of gas supplied through the two distribution networks has been stable in recent years. The customers are mainly commercial and use the gas for heating buildings and water.
In the past ten years, a market for LNG distribution has developed in Norway. LNG is produced at four plants in Rogaland and Hordaland, which have a total production capacity of 440 000 tonnes per year. In addition, the LNG plant at Melkøya produces a considerable volume of LNG, almost all of which is exported.
LNG can be transported in road tankers or by sea in LNG carriers to customers’ receiving terminals, where it is regasified. The gas can then be used for industrial or other purposes. LNG can also be used directly as fuel for shipping or heavy goods vehicles.
Bioenergy is an important energy source for heat production in Norway. It can add to the flexibility of the energy supply system and be instrumental in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. If bioenergy is used to produce heat, 85–90 % of the energy in the fuel is used. Annual consumption of bioenergy in Norway rose from 10 TWh in 1990 to 18 TWh in 2012. Since then, there has been some decline in consumption. Fuelwood consumption in households accounts for the largest proportion of biofuel consumption, and totalled more than 5 TWh in 2014. The next largest user is the manufacturing sector, where chippings and other wood waste are used as fuel in production processes.