Norway has dynamic research and education communities in the areas of energy systems, energy production, energy transmission and energy use. There are several communities with high-level expertise in energy in general, in materials, and in storage of hydrogen.
In general there is healthy collaboration between R&D communities and industry.
On 4 February 2009, eight new research centres were granted support from the Norwegian government and the Research Council of Norway. These eight centres will represent a strong effort in selected areas of renewable energy research in addition to CO2 capture and storage. The goal of the centres is to become international leaders in their respective areas of energy research and to make environment-friendly energy profitable. Each CEER will receive up to NOK 20 million annually over a five-year period with the possibility of extending this funding for a further three years. The CEERs will develop effective solutions for environment-friendly energy production and increase Norwegian expertise in the field. In the long run, they aim to stimulate new industrial activity and create new jobs. See links page for more information.
Research in the area of renewable energy production is largely aimed at areas in which Norway has natural advantages. Hydropower is the biggest area in renewable energy production. However, wind power with offshore solutions and solar PV are also important areas in the renewable energy industry. Other key technology areas are bioenergy and ocean energy (wave power, tidal energy and osmotic power, i.e., the utilisation of the pressure differential between salt and fresh water).
Offshore wind power is a particularly interesting area for Norway. The reason for this is two-fold. Firstly, there are vast wind resources in Norwegian marine areas. Secondly, the knowledge and experience accumulated in the offshore oil and gas sectors can be used in the production of offshore wind power. In the hydropower area, too, Norwegian energy companies, the supply industry and research institutions are strongly positioned. The expertise in this area needs to be developed further with a view to future operation of and improvements to the system. At the same time, this research is intended to support export opportunities available to Norwegian industry.
Nordic Energy Research is an institution under the Nordic Council of Ministers that aims to promote and extend regional cooperation in the field of energy research. It is intended to strengthen national energy research programmes and institutions in the Nordic area and to contribute to a joint strategy for research and development in those parts of the energy sector of common Nordic interest. The institution also pursues strategy work and provides advice on projects under the auspices of the Nordic Council of Ministers. The institution is funded by the Nordic countries.
Strategy and action plans for the period 2011 – 2014 are under development. Their main activities will be:
Efforts concentrate on thematic areas intended to support core areas in Nordic cooperation on issues of energy, including collaboration on electricity, climate issues and regional cooperation. On this basis, five thematic areas have been chosen:
The Research Council of Norway is responsible for administering most of the public funding available for energy research. The funds are used for basic research, industrial research and societal research. Basic strategic research is intended to lay the basis for more market-related projects in cooperation with industry and other users. The commercially oriented research is user driven to ensure that the results can be adopted if they are technically successful.
Norway fully participates in the EU Framework Programme for Research.
Part of Norway’s research effort in the energy sector is the responsibility of the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate (NVE). This primarily concerns activities relating to energy and watercourse administration.
In addition to the national research activities, Norway and Norwegian research environments participate actively in a series of international energy research collaborations.