Energy in the West Nordics and the Arctic (EVA)

This project explores the energy systems and their development towards 2035 in the West Nordic areas and the Arctic.  The objective of the project was to contribute to a knowledge…

This project explores the energy systems and their development towards 2035 in the West Nordic areas and the Arctic.  The objective of the project was to contribute to a knowledge base that can be shared and used in developing sustainable competitive energy systems that fulfill the goals and obligations for 2035 on climate, emissions and renewable shares.  “Energy systems” in this case covers the potential for different renewable energy resources, infrastructure, the demand for energy in different sectors, and relevant policies.

Along with the scenario analysis, five case studies have been developed: land transport; a small hybrid energy system in Igaliku, Greenland; electrification of fishing vessels; tourism; and the future energy system on Svalbard.

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EVA data visualisation

View the data visualisation help guide below.

Dig into the details

We at Nordic Energy Research would like to give you the opportunity to “dig into the details”, whether you are an energy modelling expert, working in a government department or just curious. To make this possible, we have made a zip-folder where you can get the input- and output data from the scenario analysis. The input data-sets have been compiled and checked in collaboration with West-Nordic and Arctic project partners. The input and output data can be used under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0).

A few examples of the data and results you will find: General input data of demographics; sectoral input data for transport, buildings and industry. Overall scenario results including total primary energy supply, sectoral final energy consumption, and emissions.

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Recommendations - Greenland

From a purely economic planning perspective, Greenland has the potential to make a quick and low-cost transition to a low emission society. The first and most pressing task is to electrify all heating. This is a task that should be economically feasible today. The main challenges in Greenland consist of regulatory and financial barriers.

Energy prices are heavily regulated in order to provide equal opportunities for all Greenlanders regardless of where they live. State subsidies to support private investments must be available to all, even though the same investments may not be relevant in all locations. The average income is generally low, which adds to the challenge of financing the necessary private investments.

The scenario analysis has also shown that there are very large differences between the optimal paths for towns and settlements in Greenland. In Nuuk, the main challenge will be balancing increased electrification with the need for higher energy efficiency throughout in order not to exceed the capacity of the existing hydro power plant.

In Ilulissat, there is not much need for energy efficiency, due to the very large excess capacity of the hydropower plant. Instead, heating should be converted to electric boilers at the earliest convenience.

In the small settlements in Greenland, exemplified by Atammik, the path to reduced emissions is less straightforward. The solutions offered in the scenario analysis have a high resemblance to the hybrid system being tested in Igaliku. Even though the exact solution to renewable power generation is still in testing, there is little doubt that the first steps to a low emission settlement lies in electrification of heating – preferably using heat pumps.

Recommendations - Iceland

The key to a low carbon emission future in Iceland lies in the transport sector. The scenario analysis suggests that full electrification in the transport sector will become the least cost path within the next 20 years. This does not mean it will happen by itself. Taxes and regulation can have very serious distortionary effects on crucial investment decisions. As discussed in section 6.2, the prices of renewable energy technologies have reached a level where they are beginning to be economically competitive with fossil fuel technologies. If taxes and regulation can be designed in a way that does not distort the economic balance between technologies, then electrification of transport will be privately profitable in the near future. This leads to a situation in Iceland where almost all CO2 emissions will be gone by 2035 without subsidising electric vehicles or electrification in general.

Today, Iceland relies almost exclusively on hydropower and geothermal power. However, the utilisation of the existing reservoirs is close to the limit. At the same time Orkustofnun expects limited development of greenfield geothermal projects and large reservoirs. In a future with increased electrification of the transport sector and fishing industry, new electric generation capacity is projected to be based on wind power. By 2035, the model projections suggest that an additional 130 MW of wind turbines will
have been installed.

Recommendations - The Faroe Islands

The scenario analysis shows that the Faroe Islands have a challenge in reaching the carbon neutral emission target of 1 tonne of CO2 equivalents per capita. The total net cost of the transition to the CNS is quite manageable (estimated EUR 1.4 million), but this net effect covers a more substantial redistribution of costs from industry and transport to the power supplier. Removal of any distortionary regulation and taxes will create the foundation for large reductions in emissions. However, the dependence on intermittent power generation for a large proportion of the energy supply will require economic incentives to make the final transition to the carbon neutral emissions target.

Maritime transport and fishing is the primary challenge that must be overcome to reach the 1-tonne target. The scenario analysis suggests that hydrogen fuel cells could be a cost-efficient solution. However, hydrogen production has a very low efficiency, which does not correlate well with an energy system that relies on relatively costly wind power. On the other hand, not all the benefits of the energy storage capabilities of hydrogen could be taken into account in the TIMES model. The dual role of hydrogen as fuel and electric storage unit should be explored further.

As in many of the other Arctic regions, electrification of heating is a low-hanging fruit in the Faroe Islands. The main barriers to this transition lie in distortionary energy taxes and lack of private financing options for low income households. At present, and in the absence of taxes and other distorting regulation, the total cost of heating from heat pumps and electric boilers is lower than from fossil fuels. This cost difference will only become greater, as the cost of heat pumps continues to decrease.

Recommendations - Svalbard

The main challenge in Svalbard will be the closing of the local coal mine within the next 10 years. Most electricity and heat in Svalbard comes from the coal-fired plant. The solutions being explored include a transmission cable to mainland Norway, wind and solar power. Solar energy could be relevant if the power were to feed into a more controlled energy system (fuel-based). During summer, much energy could be produced (almost 24 hours a day) but there be no power production from solar power during winter – where power consumption will be significantly higher than during summer. Controlled energy system is here meant as a fuel-based system where production of energy can be scheduled, such as with a generator. Wind power looks to be a much more promising solution, as the wind is available year-round. If wind power is introduced on a large scale, there will be no demand for solar power during the summer. Smart energy consumption and energy efficiencies in the consumption will be a very important focus. If the amount of electricity consumed by smart units is increased, it will lessen the need for batteries and increase the utilisation of wind power production.

Recommendations - Jan Mayen

The energy consumption on Jan Mayen is concentrated in the summer half of the year. This provides a clear opportunity to base the energy system on solar power. Solar power will have very high utilisation time because of the location north of the Polar Circle and is therefore ideal for Jan Mayen. Wind power could be relevant as a supplement in summer, but the utilisation will be very low because there is no energy consumption in winter. Smart energy consumption and energy efficiencies in consumption will be a very important focus. If the amount of electricity consumed by smart units is increased, it will reduce the need for batteries and increase the utilisation of solar power.

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