Tracking Nordic Clean Energy Progress

Tracking Nordic Clean Energy Progress is a brief, illustrative report that charts Nordic progress towards a carbon neutral society by highlighting the most prominent trends and examining scenarios where Nordic…

Tracking Nordic Clean Energy Progress is a brief, illustrative report that charts Nordic progress towards a carbon neutral society by highlighting the most prominent trends and examining scenarios where Nordic solutions can have a global impact. The report illustrates – for multiple technologies and key parameters – the latest progress in technology development and penetration, as well as market creation.

Nordic Energy Research and the International Energy Agency (IEA) published a Nordic Energy Technology Perspectives (NETP) report in both 2013 and 2016. Together, these publications represent the largest-ever collaborative IEA initiative on regional long-term, cost-efficient, low-carbon technology pathways. This report applies the global energy scenarios of the IEA’s Energy Technology Perspectives (ETP) to the Nordic countries, utilising rich national data and addressing opportunities and challenges specific to the Nordic countries.

Fig 1.2: Nordic CO2 emissions and economic growth by sector

This report also aims to provide useful analytical insights into the progress made by the Nordic countries towards achieving Nordic Carbon Neutrality in line with the initiative adopted by the Nordic prime ministers in Helsinki in January 2019.

Get the report

Tracking Nordic Clean Energy Progress first published in 2019, launched on October 1st in Reykjavik, Iceland.

The second edition of the report was released in April 2020 and provides updated figures and statistics, as well as a new section on the energy transition in Europe and the rest of the world.

Click the “download publication” button above for a PDF, or visit the publications page. Hard copies can be ordered by contacting Nordic Energy Research.

Watch a presentation of the 2019 edition

COP 25
Presentation of 2019 report from COP 25 on 12.12.19 from senior adviser Bo Diczfalusy:


Next Steps for Climate Action

Presentation of the 2019 report from the event “Next Steps for Climate Action” 26.11.2019 by senior adviser Kevin Johnsen, time code 00:38:30 – 


Are we on track?

The Bigger Picture

All five Nordic countries have seen significant increases in the utilisation of renewable energy and the total Nordic primary energy demand per capita has been stable in recent decades. The Nordic region has achieved a steady decoupling of GDP from energy-related CO2 emissions and declining CO2 intensity in energy supply in recent decades. Progress in industry, transport, and buildings represents the biggest challenge. Energy efficiency and decarbonisation of end-use sectors need to play a prominent role in this decoupling going forward.


CO2 emissions from power generation have been reduced by more than one-third during the last ten years. Deployment of wind power and a fuel shift from coal and gas to biomass have been key to this transformation.



Overall demand for bioenergy has been increasing slightly over the past ten years, particularly for biofuels used in transport. Nonetheless, bioenergy is still mainly used for heating in the Nordic countries. Moving forward, these limited bioenergy resources will have to be used for high-quality biofuels for heavy transport, industries and the chemical sector.



Electrification is the key measure of long-term CO2 reduction in the transport sector. Norway is the global leader in the deployment of EVs with a current market share exceeding 50%, yet on the Nordic level EV’s only make up 4% of the total car fleet.



Electrification of heating will free up biomass resources for other purposes and facilitate efficient integration of wind and solar power. The Nordic countries have high shares of individual electric heat pumps and they have ambitions to scale up the role of electricity for district heating.






The Nordic region is relatively energy and material efficient. Both factors have been key for competitiveness. Exploitation of residual heat and further decarbonisation of the industrial sector represent major technological and political challenges. Energy related CO2 emissions have dropped 25% during the last 10 years.



The average energy demand of Nordic buildings has decreased only slightly over the last ten years, despite major potentials for energy renovation. However, CO2 emissions per square metre have dropped markedly on the back of a large decrease in the use of oil burners.



An increased focus on liveability and climate change demands new solutions for urban transport. Nordic cities are developing cycling polices, investing in electric buses and trialling new concepts for mobility as a service. However, cars still account for approximately 85% of all inland passenger transport.



The large hydro reservoirs provide the Nordic countries with excellent and cheap storage options, which are already efficiently utilised. In the future, these will probably need to be supplemented with chemical storage in the form of batteries or hydrogen-based fuels. Carbon capture and storage may prove the key to reducing industrial CO2 emissions or be applied to biomass combustion to generate negative CO2 emissions.

Dig into the details

We at Nordic Energy Research would like to give you the opportunity to “dig into the details”. To make this possible, we have supplemented the report with a dataset for the figures in the report. These data can be used under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0). Please, enjoy the Excel-files found in this Zip-folder.

Get in touch

Comments and questions are welcome and should be addressed to:

Nordic Energy Research

Kevin Johnsen
Senior Adviser, Nordic Energy Research


Ea Energy Analyses

Ea Energy Analyses is a danish consulting company providing services and performing research in the field of energy and climate change. Experts in mathematical modelling of power and heat systems.

Contact info:

Anders Kofoed-Wiuff,

Nordic Energy Technology Perspectives 2016

Nordic Energy Technology Perspectives 2016 (NETP 2016) is a Nordic edition of the International Energy Agency's (IEA) global Energy Technology Perspectives 2016. The report offers a detailed scenario-based analysis of…

Nordic Energy Technology Perspectives 2016 (NETP 2016) is a Nordic edition of the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) global Energy Technology Perspectives 2016. The report offers a detailed scenario-based analysis of how the Nordic countries can achieve a near carbon-neutral energy system.

Get the report:

Nordic Energy Technology Perspectives was launched on May 23rd, 2016.

Download the report.

Figures and data from the report can be downloaded below.

Hard copies can be picked up from any of the partner institutions.


Browse the slides (prezi):


Download as a powerpoint presentation (without animations).


Watch the presentation:

Project leader Markus Wråke (IVL) presents the key results to Swedish Energy Minister Ibrahim Baylan at the official launch of the report, Stockholm, 23.05.2016

About the project

Nordic Energy Technology Perspectives 2016 (NETP 2016) is a Nordic edition of the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) global Energy Technology Perspectives 2016. The report offers a detailed scenario-based analysis of how the Nordic countries can achieve a near carbon-neutral energy system. The Nordic Carbon-Neutral Scenario achieves an 85% reduction of Nordic energy-related CO2 by 2050 (from 1990 levels) at lowest total cost. This takes place in the context of the IEA’s global 2-degree scenario and uses the same models and assumptions. The analysis is carried out by seven leading Nordic research institutes and the IEA. The project is coordinated and supported by Nordic Energy Research.

The three strategic actions presented in the report

  1. Incentivise and plan for a Nordic electricity system that is significantly more distributed, interconnected and flexible than today’s.

  2. Ramp up technology development to advance decarbonisation in the challenging sectors of long-distance transport and industry.

  3. Tap into the positive momentum of cities to strengthen national decarbonisation and energy efficiency efforts in transport and buildings.

Scenarios in the report


The Nordic Carbon-Neutral Scenario (CNS) represents the Nordic countries achieving their national climate targets in the context of the IEA’s global 2-degree scenario. It realises an 85% reduction of Nordic CO2 emissions from 1990 levels by 2050, with the remainder assumed to be offset. This figure, the data behind it, and the 150+ other figures in the report can be downloaded using the links below.

Get in touch

The Nordic ETP project involved researchers from all five Nordic countries. The lead for each country can be found below.

Sweden: Markus Wråke, IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute (NETP project leader)

Denmark: Kenneth Bernard Karlsson, DTU Danish Technical University (Chapter 3 lead)

Finland: Tiina Koljonen, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland (Chapter 2 lead)

Iceland: Brynhildur Davidsdottir, University of Iceland

Norway: Kari Aamodt Espegren, IFE Institute for Energy Technology

IEA: Daniele Poponi (ETP project leader)

Nordic Energy Research: Benjamin Donald Smith (NETP coordinator)

Download figures and data

Executive summary

Visualisation: Nordic CO2 map

Chapter 1. Nordic choices in a global world

Chapter 2. Urban energy

Chapter 3. Electricity system integration


Selection of media coverage

Sweden: Dagens Nyheter 22.05.2016 “Expert varnar för nya motorvägar

Norway: Dagens Næringsliv 23.05.2016 “Norge utropes til strømvinner

Norway: Dagens Næringsliv 22.05.2016 “Varsler kraftig økning i strømprisen

Norway: Energi og Klima 25.05.2016 “Mye godt om Norden

Iceland: RÚV 13.06.2016: “Þurfa að ganga lengra í loftlagsmálum”

Iceland: RÚV 13.06.2016: “Fréttir” (see time code: 12:45 – 15:20)

Iceland: Creditinfo 13.06.2016: “Ísland getur uppfyllt lofslagssamning SÞ”

Launch events in Nordic capitals

The report was launched in all Nordic capitals during May and June, 2016. The events featured energy ministers and thought leaders from industry, government, academia and civil society. Follow the links for write-ups about the different events.


Image 01/14

Project background

The IEA sees the Nordic countries of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden as leaders in the global transition to a low-carbon energy system advocated by the Energy Technology Perspectives series. All five countries have announced ambitious emission reduction targets for 2050 and there are clear synergies in tackling this challenge as a region.

Considering its rich renewable energy resources and strong policies already in place, the Nordic region could be the first in the world to achieve a carbon-neutral energy system – but it will not be easy.

Project objectives

  • Provide Nordic policy-makers with a common reference document for decarbonising their energy systems
  • Profile the region’s efforts in low-carbon energy system transition on the global stage
  • Strengthen Nordic research competencies by linking Nordic researchers together with their counterparts at the IEA

Key deliverables

The Nordic Energy Technology Perspectives 2016 publication was released on the 23rd of May 2016, and is the primary deliverable of the second phase of the project. The project has also contributed to the global ETP for 2016 with modeling data and expert review, and has significantly strengthened the Nordic research community within energy system modelling through cooperation within the project and the secondment of Nordic researchers to the IEA in Paris.

Organisation of the project

IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute has analytical project management of the second phase of the project (2016), while Nordic Energy Research acts as coordinator and administrative project manager. IEA analysts and Nordic researchers carry out data collection, model development and analysis in tight collaboration. Two Nordic researchers have been seconded to the IEA to work on the analysis for a period of 5 months each. A Steering Group represents end-users of the publication, including the energy authorities of the Nordic countries, industry associations and the European Commission. The Nordic Energy Research Board are financiers of the project.

Read more about the first edition of the project: NETP 2013.

Nordic total primary energy supply, 2013

See page 16 in the Nordic ETP report.

Nordic total primary energy supply, 2050 (CNS)

In the Nordic Carbon-Neutral Scenario (CNS), energy supply from fossil fuels and nuclear decreases, while supply from bioenergy, wind and hydropower increases. See page 16 in the report. This figure does not include net exports of electricity.

Participating countries

  • Denmark
  • Finland
  • Iceland
  • Norway
  • Sweden

Nordic Energy Technology Perspectives 2013

Read more about the latest edition, Nordic ETP 2016 -------------- News: The IEA and Nordic Energy Research to continue work towards a second edition of the Nordic ETP in 2016. Click…

Read more about the latest edition, Nordic ETP 2016


News: The IEA and Nordic Energy Research to continue work towards a second edition of the Nordic ETP in 2016. Click to read more.

Nordic Energy Technology Perspectives 2013 launched in January 2013, and is the first ever regional edition of the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) global publication Energy Technology Perspectives.

The IEA presented the 2013 results at five national launch events (see video), and the results have since been presented a various other conferences.

Nordic Energy Research held a series of workshops in 2013 to assess the feasibility of a second edition to be published in 2016. The project is currently underway and will launch in May 2016.

Pathways to a carbon-neutral Nordic energy system

Based on the IEA’s global scenario to limit average global temperature increase to 2°C, the Nordic edition includes an even more ambitious Carbon-Neutral Scenario, which assesses how the Nordic countries can achieve their national emission reduction targets for 2050 as a region.

Nordic Energy Technology Perspectives has established itself as a reference document for energy technology policy-making in the Nordic region, and offers international readers an example of Nordic leadership in the transition towards a sustainable energy system.

Try out the visualisations below, or read more about the project at the IEA’s project page:

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