Heat supply

Norway has a cold climate, and a large part of its energy consumption is used for heating.
Supply and demand District heating Heat pumps Bioenergy Surplus heat Petroleum products

Supply and demand

Norway has a cold climate, and a large part of its energy consumption is used for heating. Unlike most other countries, the dominant source for heating is electricity. The high proportion of electric heating can put pressure on the power supply during cold periods.

Households account for about half of the total energy consumption used for heating and cooling in Norway. The industry accounts for about 25 percent, while the service sector accounts for just under 25 percent.

District heating

In 2022, 6.3 TWh of district heating was delivered to end users. District heating can be produced with many different types of fuel. Waste incineration covered about 45 percent of the production in 2022. The share of bioenergy has increased over the last ten years, while the use of fossil fuels has decreased. In 2022, fossil gas and diesel and fuel oils accounted for 3.3 percent of district heating production.

District heating mainly supplies larger buildings. The service sector accounts for about two thirds of the consumption, in buildings such as hospitals, cultural, educational, and office buildings. District heating is also used in apartment buildings and industry.

District heating interacts well with the electric power system. By substituting electricity consumption in winter, district heating can limit the need for investments in the power system. Some district heating plants can also use electricity when the power price is low, or other energy carriers when the power price is high.


Heat pumps

Over one million heat pumps have been installed in Norway. Most of these are air-to-air heat pumps in households, while a significant number of larger heat pumps are installed in commercial buildings and in the industry. According to the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate (NVE), 18.8 TWh of heat was produced by heat pumps in 2021, with an electricity consumption of 8.1 TWh.


Bioenergy is an important energy source for the production of heat in Norway. It contributes  to energy flexibility and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Annual use of bioenergy in Norway has increased from 10 TWh in 1990 to 16 TWh in 2022 Wood burning in households accounts for a large share, with just over 6 TWh in 2021.


Surplus heat

Industry, data centers, and cooling systems will in most cases generate heat as a by-product. This is often referred to as waste heat or surplus heat. Surplus heat is thermal energy in the form of air, water, steam, or exhaust gas at a higher temperature than the surroundings, and which is not utilized for the facility's primary purpose and thus can be used for other purposes. The extent to which surplus heat can be utilized depends on the quality of the heat source, including temperature level, availability, and quantity. In addition, available technology and customer base will be crucial. The customer base largely depends on the geographical location of the heat resources.

Petroleum products

From January 1, 2020, use of mineral oil (oil from fossil sources) for heating buildings has been prohibited. The purpose is to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. The ban also includes the use of mineral oil for temporary heating of buildings under construction or renovation (construction heat). Agricultural buildings and hospitals with around the clock patient treatment are exempt until 1 January 2025.

Gas heating is very rare in Norway, with a limited domestic gas infrastructure. Since 2017, installing heating solutions based on any fossil fuel, including natural gas, in new buildings has been prohibited. Use of gas is mainly related to industrial activities.

Updated: 08.07.2024