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Norway power demand may rise 60% until 2050 - grid operator

By Nora Buli

OSLO (Reuters) - Power demand in Norway is set to grow by 60% to 220 terawatt hours (TWh) by 2050 on the back of decarbonisation efforts and the establishment of new electricity-intensive industries, grid operator Statnett said on Thursday.

The 220 TWh formed the company's base case scenario for demand growth, up from 140 TWh at present and 30 TWh higher than its previous forecast given two years ago, Statnett said.

A high-growth scenario would see demand almost double to 260 TWh, up by 40 TWh from the previous report.

"The increase is due both to the conversion to zero emissions by electrification and the establishment of new green industry," Statnett head Hilde Tonne said in a statement.

Norway's net zero ambitions will alone add additional electricity demand of 40-60 TWh, according to the report.

Norway's key tool for reaching an interim 55% emissions reduction target by 2030 is to electrify its offshore oil and gas platforms, replacing gas-driven turbines.

Additional, the country is also seeking to expand its industry base to battery factories and energy-intensive process such as clean hydrogen and ammonia production.

Statnett operates Norway's high-voltage transmission system that transports power over longer distances and connects to industrial end users as well as distribution grid operators.

Over the past four years, it has received requests for grid connections that equated to a doubling of power demand, Statnett said.

But even its low growth scenario, where not all this demand will be realised, consumption would lift demand to 190 TWh and require a lot of new grid lines and power generation resources, it added.

Statnett last year warned Norway could see a power deficit as early as 2027.

(Reporting by Nora Buli, editing by Terje Solsvik)