Country report 2009 for Norway - IEA Bioenergy task 40

Aug 2009

This report is a part of the work of IEA Bioenergy Task 40 working group-“Sustainable International Bioenergy Trade: Securing Supply and Demand” and gives a picture of the situation regarding bioenergy in Norway for the year 2007.
Statistics Norway reports the total bioenergy consumption in 2007 to be 50 PJ including biomass use in district heating. About 50% of the consumption is heat produced in wood stoves in private households and 40% is use of biomass for internal heating and drying in forest industries. About 60% of the households in Norway have furnaces for solid fuel, mainly wood stoves. The use of pellet stoves is increasing, but plays a minor role in the heat market.
Less than half of the annual growth of roundwood in Norway is harvested annually, hence forest resources represents the major potential for increased bioenergy production in Norway. The sustainable potential use of biomass for energy production is uncertain, but are estimated to be around 140 PJ, close to a threefold of the current production. The potential will be larger if more of existing roundwood harvest is directly used for energy production in stead of use by the forest industries. Agricultural land can also be used for energy crops, but limited availability of agricultural land limits the potential (agricultural land covers 3.2% of total land area). The theoretical potential, if all biomass resources where used for energy production, would be around 180-210 PJ.
Norway has a relatively high price levels both for wood and labour compared to other European countries. As a result, prices of biofuels are also relatively high compared to other countries. Norway is a significant importer of wood.
The main barriers for increased use of bioenergy in Norway are relatively low prices of electricity in relation to the investment costs for bioenergy systems. In existing buildings, increased used of bioenergy is in the short run limited to current infrastructure, water born heat distribution and chimneys in private households. 75% of the buildings for living and 50% of the buildings in the service sectors are based on heating by electric space heaters. The total economic potential for heating is estimated to around 100 PJ.
Other barriers are lack of know-how in the value chain for bioenergy, including contractors, politicians, consultants and consumers.
The opportunities for bioenergy in Norway is availability of domestic biomass resources, increasing demand for renewable energy, more political attention and incentives and increased resources for R&D for development of more efficient value chains including appropriate technology for sustainable biomass supply and energy conversions appropriate for Norwegian buildings. Some years ahead, second generation biofuels based on forest resources can be an opportunity for increased use of bioenergy in Norway.

By: E. Trømborg (Norwegian University of Life Sciences), Ø. Leistad (Enova SF)

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