Go Electric: Norway's renewable energy
Norway is primarily powered by hydropower. Norwegian innovators are, however, also developing other renewables and the technology to make them work. Renewable energy sources have one thing in common: minimal greenhouse gas emissions.
To achieve the climate targets of the Paris Agreement, more renewable energy is essential. Since the end of the 1800s, Norway has generated most of its electricity from renewable sources. The same holds true today.
Even though hydropower is dominant, Norwegian companies are active in other renewables as well, pioneering technologies in solar power, floating offshore wind, and energy storage, among others.
In 1995, the lead singer of the 1980s band A-ha and the head of the Norwegian environmental group Bellona climbed into a converted electric Fiat Panda they had imported from Switzerland and set off on a mission.
They drove around Oslo refusing to pay the city’s sky-high road tolls, parking illegally wherever they could, and ignoring every penalty notice they were given. Eventually, the authorities impounded their car and auctioned it off to cover the fines but the stunt attracted massive media attention, and the point was made.
From next year, it will increase the road tax rate for electric vehicles – which currently benefit from discounts of up to 90% – to $229 a year, the same as for motorcycles. Although this rate will still be only 70% of that internal combustion cars pay, Øyvind Solberg Thorsen, CEO of OFV, says electric cars should start to bear a larger share of the cost of Norway’s road network as their numbers increase.
Norway’s electric car market is powering ahead, with most new cars registered in September either fully electric or hybrids. The new Volkswagen ID.3 was the best selling car, with 12.8% of sales, followed by the Tesla Model 3 and the Polestar 2. It’s a trend that looks set to continue. The latest data from OFV, the Norwegian Road Traffic Council, shows that by mid-October fully electric cars had already accounted for almost 65% of sales.
Norway has long been hailed as a leader in the race to adopt electric cars, and it provides many incentives and benefits – including big reductions in purchase and road tax – for those who buy and drive them. Electric cars also enjoy cuts of at least 50% to parking, toll road and ferry charges.
Globally, too, we could be on track for an electric car breakthrough as battery technology gets less expensive. The cost of a lithium-ion battery pack for an electric car fell 87% from 2010 to 2019, according to research by BloombergNEF.
Green Travel in Norway
Norway has an extensive rail and road network with the use of public transport increasing year on year. Oslo has some of the most innovative environmental solutions in Europe and was selected as the European Green Capital 2019.
In Oslo, you can explore the city with an electric city-car from Greenmobile, and in Geiranger and Flåm you can go exploring in a mini electric car provided by eMobility. In Flåm you can also join an electric minibus to the famous viewpoint Stegastein.
In Flåm and Hardanger, you will also find two vessels, Vision and Future of The Fjords, representing a brand-new standard in design and technology. They have been designed to maximize the tourist experience during any kind of weather, with large windows and walkways inspired by the winding trails of steep mountain terrain while being environmentally-friendly.
Vision is a hybrid vessel and Future is a fully-electric vessel. Both sail along with the most exposed and spectacular parts of the Hardanger and Nærøyfjord, running on battery power only and keeping to a speed of fewer than 10 knots.
In Bergen, you can jump onboard the Fløibanen cable car, electrically operated ever since its opening in 1918. The 850 metres long trip takes about eight minutes and is still a useful public transportation offer for locals, as well as one of Bergen’s major tourist attractions.
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