Future heating of Norwegian homes

Status: Concluded
In progress from 30-01-2003 to 30-06-2003
Project manager: Tore Tennĝe
Keywords: Environment, Environmental technology, Expert-based, Public participation

Electric panel heaters are the main heating source in a disproportionate number of Norwegian households. The consumption of electric power exceeds the substantial national hydroelectric power production in parts of the year. This means that Norway has to import electric power produced from fossil fuels. The Board of Technology has reported on heating alternatives.

Approximately 70 % of Norwegian households use predominately electric heating. This is far more than comparable countries. During the cold and dry winter of 2002/2003 electricity prices peaked, demonstrating the vulnerability of household economies in the Norwegian heating structure.

The environmental lobby and others have long advocated the introduction of alternative heating technology that will minimize the need for heating, reduce heat loss and improve heat recovery. Examples of such alternatives are different types of heat pumps and water-based central heating based on new renewable energy sources.

The Board set down an expert group to report on the pros and cons of the different alternatives for heating houses. Based on their work, the Board issued a policy brief to the Parliament in June 2003, where different ways of supporting alternative heating technology were mapped.

To facilitate discussions where the voices of lay people are heard, a consensus conference was organised in February 2003. The lay panel met for two preparatory weekends, discussed with invited experts at the conference, and formulated advice that was handed over to the Minister of Oil and Energy at the last day of the conference.

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