Nordic Energy Challenge 2021 – How can sustainable transport enable the Nordic region to become carbon neutral?

"It's time to act", as last year's winner of the Nordic Energy Challenge, Simon Vilms Pedersen puts it in the video above. The Nordic countries have a unique and long-standing cooperation…

“It’s time to act”, as last year’s winner of the Nordic Energy Challenge, Simon Vilms Pedersen puts it in the video above.

The Nordic countries have a unique and long-standing cooperation on energy, which has created a solid foundation for the development of a sustainable and secure energy supply in the region. Now, it is time to take the next step in enhancing Nordic cooperation on sustainable transport.

Transport is the sector that requires the largest emissions reductions for the Nordic region to achieve carbon neutrality. It is also considered one of the most difficult sectors to decarbonize, due to, among other things, the need for alternative fuels, efficient integration of energy systems, new infrastructure and modal shifts in transport, as well as coherent policies to combine these elements. Simultaneously, an array of barriers must be overcome regarding legal and regulatory aspects, safety and social acceptance, as well as structural challenges related to finance, procurement and market development that affect large-scale deployment of sustainable solutions.

Nordic Energy Research aims to promote innovative research, new ideas and interesting perspectives on sustainable transport which, in turn, can bring added value to the Nordic region. 

Submit your game-changing proposal for the Nordic cooperation needed to decarbonize the transport sector.

Your submission should:

  • Describe how different barriers and/or opportunities within sustainable transport can be handled jointly by the Nordic countries. 
  • Describe the maximization of Nordic added value that the proposal will bring.

We encourage all stakeholders to submit contribution; companies from the energy sector or other sectors, researchers and academics, non-profit organizations, business and trade associations, think-tanks, students and individuals. 

Send your submissions, as well as any questions, to:

Project Timeline

How to participate:

The Nordic Energy Challenge is divided into three stages. 

Stage 1. Submit an abstract by the 19th of April, at the latestThe abstract should consist of up to 5,000 characters and include a short description of: 

  • The barriers and/or opportunities you are addressing  
  • The assumptions that form the basis of your proposal  
  • The expected outcome of your analysis 
  • Your methodology

All submissions will be examined by the project team at Nordic Energy Research, who on the 26th of April will announce the submissions that have qualified to participate in the next stage.  

Stage 2. The selected submissions shall be finalized and submitted by the 4th of August, at the latest. The final submission should consist of 8-10 pages text (indicative) or a 5-minute video with a 1-2 page complementary text. 

On the 20th of Augusta jury will announce the top-three submissions that qualified for the final round.

Stage 3. The top-three submissions will be awarded at Nordic Energy Research Forum 2021 on the 14th of September.  

Jury and selection criteria:

  • Proposals which have qualified to the second stage will be evaluated by a jury.
  • The jury consists of highly qualified representatives from Nordic energy community and from Nordic Energy Research.
  • The jury assesses the submitted proposals on their level of comprehensiveness, innovation and promotion of Nordic added value.

What is Nordic added value?
Nordic Energy Research aims to facilitate cooperative energy research and policy development, and funds research of joint Nordic interest that supports the ambition to reduce carbon emissions in the Nordic region. Participants in Nordic Energy Challenge should elaborate on how their submission would contribute to Nordic added value by enhancing Nordic strengths and addressing Nordic challenges, and how the results of their idea would impact the Nordic region.

Means to achieve Nordic added value could for example be by strengthening Nordic competitiveness and integration through building critical mass, cost-efficiency, sharing resources as well as facilitating Nordic mobility and networking, institutional collaboration and competence building in the Nordic region, etc.

What is innovation?
Nordic Energy Research wishes to promote the creation, development and implementation of new ideas aimed at improving the efficiency, effectiveness and/or competitive advantages in the Nordic region. Participants in Nordic Energy Challenge should present a submission that, if implemented, will lead to a positive effective change. The submission could also be resulting in a capturing of value in a new way.

What is comprehensiveness?
Nordic Energy Research is looking for submissions that display a high level of relevance and completeness throughout the proposal. The participant’s submission should be coherent and thoroughly worked through, thus demonstrating an overall comprehensiveness in their work. 

Click here and read about last year’s jury.


  • The best contributions will be awarded with an honorarium of 60,000 NOK, the second best with 25,000 NOK and the third best with 15,000 NOK for their presentations at Nordic Energy Research Forum 2021. 
  • Selected authors are encouraged to publish a summary of their proposal on the Nordic Energy Research website, 
  • Authors will be interviewed on videos to be published on Nordic Energy Research website and social media channels. 

The winner of Nordic Energy Challenge 2020:

Simon Vilms Pedersen won the Nordic Energy Challenge 2020 with his proposal On the Road to Nordic Decarbonization 2050. 

“My proposal is about using the large amounts of data that the satellites collect daily, in the green transition. Satellites can monitor how weather events, such as precipitation and drought, affect primary energy sources and thus help improve energy forecasts. The data can give us an overview of renewable energy sources, but also function as a decision-making tool for the supply network. Thus, satellites can play an active role not only in the green transition, but also in the green bioeconomy,” explains Simon Vilms Pedersen.

Click here and read about last year’s three finalists.

Terms and conditions:

  • By participating in the competition Nordic Energy Challenge, the submitter(s) agree to be bound by the stated terms and conditions. The submitter(s) accepts that Nordic Energy Research (NER) uses their name and submission for marketing purposes in connection with the competition. If NER, in its discretion, finds any submission to be unacceptable, then such submission will be deemed disqualified.  
  • NER also reserves the right to further develop ideas submitted in the competition, regardless of the continued involvement of the submitter(s). This right shall cover all submitted proposals, regardless of further qualification after submission of the first abstract, and also extends to the time after the end of the competition. However, in relation to NER, the submitter(s) retains the copyright to the written work submitted. Nonetheless, NER shall, at its discretion, be granted royalty-free, non-exclusive license and user rights to the top-three winning proposals. However, all members of the selection group at NER and of the jury are obligated to sign a Confidentiality Agreement before receiving any proposals.  
  • The award cannot be transferred or changed in terms of content or scope. NER will not be held responsible for any extra costs that emanate from the participation in the competition (unless otherwise stated). All tax liabilities (including income tax) arising from this competition will be the sole responsibility of the three award winners. 

The three finalist for Nordic Energy Challenge 2020

The jury behind the Nordic Energy Challenge has awarded a winner and second and third place in the 2020 final. Simon Vilms Pedersen from University of Southern Denmark (SDU) with the…

The jury behind the Nordic Energy Challenge has awarded a winner and second and third place in the 2020 final.

  1. Simon Vilms Pedersen from University of Southern Denmark (SDU) with the proposal:
    On the Road to Nordic Decarbonization 2050
  2. Claire BergaentzléPhilipp Andreas Gunkel and Daniel Møller Sneum from Denmark’s Technical University (DTU) with the proposal:
    A sustainable and integrated Nordic region
  3. Marianne Zeyringer from University of Oslo (UiO) with the proposal:
    Unlocking the renewable energy potential in the Nordics

Meet Simon Vilms Pedersen – the winner of Nordic Energy Challenge 2020

Simon holds a Ph.D. in Engineering specialized in Biotechnology and Biophotonics from University of Southern Denmark and is participating in the final with his idea; On the Road to Nordic Decarbonization 2050.

Nordic Energy Challenge has asked Simon to talk a little about his idea.
What is your idea about?
My idea is about using the large amounts of data that the satellites collect daily, in the green transition. Satellites can monitor how weather events, such as precipitation and drought, affect primary energy sources and thus help improve energy forecasts. The data can give us an overview of renewable energies, but also function as a decision-making tool for the supply network. Thus, satellites can play an active role not only in the green transition, but also in the green bioeconomy.

Why and how did you come up with your idea?
New challenges provide opportunities for new ideas. The increasing number of energy sources in a future energy system will require continuous monitoring of each energy source – both in terms of time and geography. Satellites are great for monitoring geographic areas over time, and with a renewed budget for European Earth observation programs, it was clear to me that there were opportunities here for a direct, active use of the satellites in the green transition.

How does your idea contribute to the green transition
My idea is also a decision-making tool for the supply network during and after the green transition. The tool can be used to assess market dynamics in relation to energy sources, modes of transport, and supply networks. Take biomass for example: Biomass is a limited resource with a growing industrial interest. Mixing commercial interests with energy supply considerations underscores the important role that a satellite-based monitoring system of renewable energy sources can play in future energy scenarios.

Why is an event as the Nordic Energy Challenge important?
It´s important that everyone with helpful ideas contributes to the green transition. The Nordic Energy Challenge creates the opportunity to bring everyone onto the field and make sure that all ideas are heard. Thus, the Nordic Energy Challenge plays an important role in not only articulating the climate problems, but also finding solutions. The Nordic Energy Challenge is an excellent example of how the Nordic countries support innovation.

Claire Bergaentzlé and her team got a second place

Claire and her three team members are researchers at Technical University of Denmark and are participating in the final with their idea; Flexibility in the Nordics.

Nordic Energy Challenge has asked the team to talk a little about their idea.

What is your idea about?
In our proposal, we develop a pathway for policy actions to develop future transmission grids in a concerted way, and to eliminate price distortions that currently disadvantage electricity in heat generation. Accordingly, we assess how fast the energy mix will transition in response to:

  • Strong Nordic cooperation that brings forward the common Nordic interest as a single entity and makes the best of the Nordic electricity mix as a whole.
  • The introduction of distortion-free regulatory framework conditions at the interface between electricity and heat. This means removing all subsidies and introducing capacity-based electricity grid tariffs to support flexibility signals from the NordPool market.
  • Communicate the impact of limited acceptance for wind and grid projects in terms of over cost for the system and the electricity end-users.

Why and how did you come up with your idea?
The idea emerged from a common consensus from all the Nordic partners who joined their efforts into realizing this project:

The Nordic region already unites the ideal conditions (in terms of technology, resources, well-functioning market, and strong political will) to meet its sustainable energy transition targets. However, this may not be sufficient to fully meet our targets at the least cost, nor to support other countries to limit their carbon footprint. For that to happen, policy makers must take the challenge a step further and define a common energy sustainability pathway. This pathway should build on coherent regulatory framework conditions that support the best geographical and sectoral integration and promote efficient market price signals.

Our idea brings new insights into such policy and regulatory pathways. We show that the pathways should be implemented now, in a proactive manner, to hit our only window to meet and go beyond our energy targets.

How does your idea contribute to the green transition
We demonstrate that market and sector coupling together and backed by coherent regulatory frameworks have the potential to accommodate future variable renewable energy (VRE) participation and to guarantee the reliable security of supply of energy at the least cost for the consumers.

Market and sector coupling will give access to enlarged flexibility potentials at both sectors while accelerating the use of VRE and the decarbonization across borders and energy sectors. With more interconnections, the Nordics optimally send their surpluses of wind and solar energy where it is needed and give access to their hydropower plants’ flexibility. With stronger electrification, district heating becomes free of CO2 emissions, completely integrated into the electricity system, and fully flexible.

A fully CO2 free energy sector can happen as early as in the 2030s, granting the Nordics the chance to actively contribute to the transition of its neighboring countries and to accelerate the decarbonization of other sectors of the economy.

Why is an event as the Nordic Energy Challenge important?
Events like the Nordic Energy Challenge are a base for discussion, creating consensus, and as a showcase of the Nordic approach to inclusion and sustainability.

Such events shed light on recent research and give a forum to present our main findings, reach policymakers, industry stakeholders, and civil society.

Even though our methods may differ, we are all engaged in the same race towards a common goal. Such events are therefore essential because they help us to share difficulties, but also best practices; to stimulate curiosity and new ideas and to engage in reflections, but also to warn of limitations and point to where further work is needed.

Besides Claire Bergaentzlé the team behind the idea; Flexibility in the Nordics is Philipp Andreas Gunkel, Daniel Møller Sneum, Adam Krzysztof Suski.

Marianne Zeyringer became number 3 in Nordic Energy Challenge 2020

Marianne Zeyringer is one of the finalists of the Nordic Energy Challenge, participating in the final with her idea; Unlocking the renewable energy potential in the Nordics – Energy systems modelling as a tool to understand opposition and increase acceptance and collaboration.

The Nordic Energy Challenge has asked Marianne Zeyringer to talk a little about her idea.

What is your idea about?
The idea is about bringing researchers from different scientific disciplines and artists together to; firstly to use energy systems modelling as a participatory tool to understand Nordic citizens’ visions of future energy systems and collaboration across countries, and secondly to discuss those co-designed energy futures with the public through artistic performances.

Why and how did you come up with your idea?
I am a power system modeller, and our models are usually cost optimising. Wind energy has decreased in cost dramatically over the last years. It thus represents a cost-effective decarbonisation solution. The Nordics have excellent wind energy resources and as a result when we as modellers are trying to see how to reach the Paris Agreement Goal for Europe, our models would place lots of wind energy in the Nordics. When I was working in the UK there was quite a lot of local opposition towards onshore wind energy. We showed with our studies that when excluding good sites from development decarbonising the energy system will be much more expensive.

From this experience I have learned that it is important to get people involved in the green transition and to figure out how it is possible to meet public scepticism and opposition.

Usually energy and power system modellers sit in their universities or research institutes, defining scenarios and publishing reports mostly aimed at other academics or policy makers. There is hardly any input from lay people into the design of the scenarios and models and little communication from researchers to the public in general. However, with a pressing urgency to mitigate climate change and making the energy transition successful we need the people to be on board.

How does your idea contribute to the green transition
The aims of the project are to involve the Nordic citizens and make them realize that they have a huge impact on the energy transition. We will have mixed groups from different countries to see if the experience of jointly designing scenarios changes the people’s willingness to contribute “more” in their own country. We will understand under which conditions people are willing to work together to transform each country’s energy system.

Hopefully, the results of the project will inspire policy makers to design net-zero energy systems which are supported by the public and give insights on collaboration possibilities, barriers and solutions.

Why is an event as the Nordic Energy Challenge important?
The Nordic Energy Challenge gives the opportunity to think creatively and completely outside existing disciplinary boundaries. I look forward to meeting the other researchers and maybe develop a joint proposal. I sincerely hope that the Nordic Energy Challenge contributes to an increased awareness and allows the audience to understand the challenges in reaching the energy transition. Last, but not least, Nordic Energy Challenge gives me insight into different out of the box solutions.

Nordic Power 2X for Sustainable Road Transport

The Nordic P2X for Sustainable Road Transport assessed the potential for reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from road transport within the Nordics by the use of electrofuels. Renewable electricity from…

The Nordic P2X for Sustainable Road Transport assessed the potential for reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from road transport within the Nordics by the use of electrofuels. Renewable electricity from wind and solar is growing fast in the Nordics, which gives an opportunity for decarbonising the road transport sector, including both heavy (trucks and buses) and light vehicles (cars, mopeds and motorcycles).

The Nordic countries each have ambitious climate goals. Achieving the ambitious targets requires solutions to reduce emissions in the sectors where it has so far been difficult. One solution is the possibility of converting renewable power to hydrogen (via electrolysis) and to other electrofuels. The conversion of electricity will help to integrate more renewable energy into the energy system in sectors that are difficult to decarbonize, but may also reduce the rapidly growing need for expansion of the electricity infrastructure.

Download the full report

Download the project database

Download the project presentation


Nordic P2X for Sustainable Road Transport: Executive Summary

Electrofuels (e-fuels) produced from renewable electricity in the Nordics could contribute to both increasing the domestic production of renewable fuels, and to achieving national targets for decarbonizing the transport sector. Reducing emissions from road transport can, to a significant degree, be achieved by vehicle electrification – being far more energy efficient on a well-to-wheel basis than e-fuels – but there is still a large demand of liquid and gaseous fuels expected, especially for heavy-duty transport, even in a time frame up to 2050. Together with biofuels, e-fuels – including both liquid and gaseous, carbon- containing fuels and hydrogen – could be an option to fill this demand.

The project – conducted in collaboration between CIT Industriell Energi AB, THEMA Consulting AS and VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland – identified candidate locations in the Nordic countries for hydrogen and subsequent e-fuel production (methane, methanol, DME and FT-diesel) for fuelling road transport within the Nordics for a timeframe up to 2045. Sites have been ranked by production costs, greenhouse gas emission savings, and infrastructural aspects. Water resource availability was also analysed, but results showed that water availability is not a critical factor for plant siting decision within the Nordics.

The major conclusions from the present project are:

For e-fuel production sites co-located with industrial emissions sources in the Nordics, the key features of attractive sites are a low power price, potential by-product revenues and plant size

The location of e-fuel production sites at industrial large-scale CO2 sources in low power cost regions is a viable near-term choice to allow the rapid ramp-up of carbon-based e-fuel production in the Nordics. This is due to the most important factors for low e-fuel production costs being: a low power price, potential revenues of by-products (oxygen and heat), and plant size (economies of scale). For hydrogen e-fuel production, where plant economics are even more sensitive to power prices, this conclusion is also considered valid. Even though hydrogen production is not dependent on a CO2 source, benefits from co-location with industrial infrastructure are still to be expected, and low power price regions will still be the most attractive from a production cost perspective.

The present assessment is based on the current energy system infrastructure and known near- to medium-term developments. The report authors analysed whether locating hydrogen production where power was cheapest in the Nordics and then paying for hydrogen transport was likely to be cheaper than local hydrogen production for e-fuel production facilities located at industrial CO2 sources. This analysis indicates that power price differences within the Nordics are too small relative to the costs of hydrogen transportation to motivate off-site hydrogen production elsewhere in the region. Future changes to the relevant infrastructure – such as the build-up of an extensive hydrogen transport infrastructure or a CO2 transport system – might lead to differing conclusions.

Power consumption is the main limiting factor on the volume of fuels that can be produced

The upper limit for e-fuel production is set by the maximum size of electrolyser chosen in the analysis (200 MWel). This assumption accounts for potential limitations in electric power supply infrastructure. The theoretical amount of e-fuels produced based on the availability of carbon dioxide would be substantially higher. Consequently, a massive ramp-up of capacity could generate substantial amounts of e-fuels provided there was an available supply of renewable power. The estimated e-fuel amounts generated from the 15 sites with the lowest production costs in the Nordics correspond to a share of about 10 % of total energy demand for road transport, well in line with e-fuel uptake scenarios developed as part of this study. However, the focus of the analysis was on identifying the relative attractiveness of different e-fuel production sites and further investigation would be necessary to come up with better founded estimates of possible e-fuel production volumes.

E-fuel production at smaller scale from biogas plants can be a cost-competitive alternative from a national perspective

Co-location with large biogas plants can be a cost-competitive solution from a national perspective, since the available pure CO2 stream reduces investment and operating costs. However, the volumes of e-fuels that can be produced at lower cost at biogas plants are considerably smaller compared to levels reached at large scale industrial CO2 sources. Further, large biogas plants are mainly situated in southern Sweden and Denmark, with relatively high power prices, which makes large scale e-fuel production in low power price zones (e.g. Norway) the economically preferable option from a Nordic perspective.

E-fuels produced in the Nordics can achieve – and surpass – the greenhouse gas reduction requirements of 70 % from EU directives

With respect to greenhouse gas emission reductions, e-fuels produced within the Nordic countries can surpass the 70 % reduction requirement of European directives, based on currently available calculation methodology. Thus, e-fuels could contribute to reaching mandatory levels of advanced renewable transport fuels. In this context, it is important to note that the final methodology for e-fuels specifically is not yet specified. E-fuel production sites are expected to use power sourced from a portfolio of onshore wind sites, complemented by grid power, which would give emission reductions above 90 %. Even e-fuel production in the Nordics using grid electricity is expected to be compliant with the reduction target of 70 %, excepting Denmark and Finland in the very near term (2025). In addition to access to renewable electricity, the major site-specific factor influencing the GHG emission reduction potential is heat export opportunities, which are expected to allow emissions to be allocated to the useful heat that is generated as a by-product in the production process.

Whether carbon dioxide is of fossil or biogenic origin does not impact the GHG emission reduction potential of e-fuels, which, based on currently available information, is reflected in the set-up of EU directives. From a long-term perspective, the use of fossil fuels will/should be phased out or converted to bioenergy where possible. Therefore, biogenic carbon dioxide sources, and/or applications with intrinsic CO2 emissions such as from cement industry, may be a more secure source. A more comprehensive life cycle assessment, which accounts for site-specific conditions, the impacts of plant construction and allocation to other non-energy by-products, e.g. oxygen, should be considered. To understand the total climate impacts of increased e-fuel production in the Nordics a system level analysis would be needed.

Fuel distribution infrastructure is favourable for most sites that are top-ranked from a cost perspective and for all sites in Denmark and Southwestern Sweden

The three aspects most important for the ranking based on distribution infrastructure are the availability of a harbour at the production site, that the fuel produced can utilize existing distribution infrastructure, and proximity to demand centres. Most top-ranked sites with respect to production costs have access to a harbour, but not all. On the other hand, all sites in Denmark – though not top-ranked from an overall Nordic cost perspective – have access to the natural gas grid and are located close to demand centres. It is clear that the possibility to utilize existing distribution infrastructure benefits the near-term development of e-fuel production. This is the case for liquid drop-in fuels and for e-methane where there is access to a natural gas or biogas grid.

E-fuels for road transport and P2X in general need to be analysed from a broader perspective

Building up a renewable e-fuel production infrastructure requires vast investments and large amounts of additional renewable electricity generation. A more holistic approach is necessary to clarify the roles of e-fuels – and P2X applications for materials, chemicals, or energy storage in a broader sense – for the future energy system. The present study – which focuses on identifying optimum locations for e-fuel production in the Nordic countries – can be used as a starting point for or contribution to a broader analysis. With respect to low-carbon transport, the results of the present study can serve as benchmark for e-fuels with respect to other measures such as biofuels or direct electrification.

This project provides a foundation for a broader consideration of the appropriate use of e-fuels by establishing an analytical framework for the assessment of costs and a detailed database of large scale industrial CO2-point sources that could be used for e-fuel production in the Nordics

A database of e-fuel production cost and greenhouse gas emission reductions covering 232 industrial sites within the Nordics has been established. The database can form the basis of further investigations and allows for customization and adaption. Carbon dioxide amounts, origin (fossil/organic), and concentration estimates, as well as local markets/demand for by-products oxygen and heat are included in the database. Power price scenarios based on a sophisticated modelling approach for the timeframe 2025 – 2035 – 2045 for the Nordic electricity price zones are included. The analytical framework – which links a comprehensive Nordic power system model, structured techno-economic data, and life-cycle-based GHG emission performance analyses – is a valid starting point for further studies of the role of e-fuels in the Nordic energy system.

Download the full report

Download the project database

Download the project presentation

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,

Renewable energy supply and storage

How can a small community implement a system based on 100 per cent renewable energy? This series of  reports provide practical guidelines for renewable energy projects, and help communities in sparsely…

How can a small community implement a system based on 100 per cent renewable energy? This series of  reports provide practical guidelines for renewable energy projects, and help communities in sparsely populated areas in their green transition.

The Nordic countries have set ambitious targets for implementing renewable energy sources and energy storage, which will move them closer to a sustainable fossil-free energy system. Small communities represent an exciting opportunity for a much faster transition to a system based on 100 per cent renewable energy than would be possible in urban areas.

Renewable energy supply and storage: Guide for planners and developers in sparsely populated areas will help small communities overcome the challenges associated with implementing renewable energy systems. The guide is produced by Nordic Energy Research and consulting group COWI.

The guide provides how to develop affordable, and reliable, renewable energy projects, using off-the-shelf technology.  The guide is designed to be highly adaptable, and it provides formulas for calculating the costs and benefits of particular energy and heating systems based on the needs of the community. Planners can, for example, work out whether a district heating system is best for their town, or whether system based on individual heat pumps would be more efficient.

It also provides answers to questions like: Is it better to store heat for later use in insulated water tanks or use a system where energy is stored in batteries?  The guide considers as many variables as possible, to help planners decide on the best approach for their specific energy project.

The project partners have initiated a pilot program in Leirvík on the Faroe Islands, to see how the guide can be used in practice. As the project unfolds the hope is that Leirvík will make the transition to a renewable energy system.


Contact for the Nordic project:

Torill Meistad, Nordic Energy Research

Ph.+47 91 576 576


Contact for pilot project at the Faroe Islands:

Kári Mannbjørn Mortensen, Umhvørvisstovan

Ph. +298291706



Traðagøta 38 – Postboks 2048 – FO-165 Argir

Ph. +298 342400

Image 01/03

Events calendar

March 22:  Energy week 2017 – Vasa Finland

April: SmartGrid services cluster annual network meeting (TBC)

June 15 – 18: Folkemødet 2017 på Bornholm (TBC)

August 14 – 19: Arendalsuka, Norge (TBC)

August: Presentation at Åland. Arrangør: Ålands Teknologi- och Energicentrum  (TBC)

September 18 – 20: 2017 Arctic Energy Summit – Helsinki, Finland (TBC)

September: Project arrangement at the Faroe Islands (TBC)

Sustainable Jet Fuel for Aviation

Nordic perspectives on the use of advanced sustainable jet fuel for aviation

The report “Sustainable jet fuel for aviation” was launched at a seminar in Oslo on September 1st, 2016.

The report presents an overview of the current state in the Nordic countries of the development process for the sustainable jet fuel. The overall aim is to assess to what extent the use of advanced sustainable jet fuel may contribute to GHG reduction and mitigation, as well as identifying the extent of the commercial potential for initiating and scaling up advanced sustainable jet fuel production at a Nordic level. The report also explores how to most efficiently use the available Nordic know-how, feedstock and production facilities. The report draws on the latest available reports and statistics, as well as interviews with stakeholders and experts across the Nordic countries, concludes on identifying the most matured technologies, the Nordic opportunities and challenges, and ideas to mitigate the barriers within the Nordic private and public sectors.


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

Kevin Johnsen

Senior Adviser
+47 478 50 782

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:

Sustainable Energy Systems 2050

Sustainable Energy Systems 2050 is the seventh edition of Nordic Energy Research’s main research funding programme, spanning from 2011 to 2014

“While decarbonizing electricity is still a central challenge for much of the world, the Nordic case offers insight into how a clean electricity system can be achieved and how it can facilitate decarbonization of other sectors.” – SES 2050 Report

The aim of the programme is to develop new knowledge and solutions, supporting the transition to a sustainable energy system in 2050.



Flex4RES – Flexible Nordic Energy Systems

The Flex4RES project investigates how an increased interaction between similar energy markets can facilitate the integration of variable renewable energy (VRE). Changes in regulatory frameworks to support this process is…

The Flex4RES project investigates how an increased interaction between similar energy markets can facilitate the integration of variable renewable energy (VRE). Changes in regulatory frameworks to support this process is necessary. This may in turn ensure stable, sustainable and cost-efficient Nordic energy systems. By taking into account the energy system as a whole and looking at energy markets that are dependent on each other, we identify potentials, costs and benefits of achieving flexibility in the Nordic power market.

The advantage of combining different energy markets, both with respect to flexibility and economics, is that financial and environmental benefits can be created in several sectors at once. The heat, gas and transport sectors are obvious candidates for generating such benefits, as well as within power transmission and generation.

Sign up for our newsletter