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Does Time Matter? A Multi-level Assessment of Delayed Energy Transitions and Hydrogen Pathways in Norway


The Russian invasion of Ukraine has undeniably disrupted the EU's energy system and created a window of opportunity for an acceleration of the low-carbon energy transition in Europe. As the trading bloc's biggest gas supplier, Norway faces the imminent threat of fast-depleting gas reserves and declining value for its exports. Norway is trying to beat the clock by aggressively exploring more petroleum, therefore delaying its energy transition. In anticipation of the future drop in gas prices, Norway is counting on blue hydrogen to valorise its gas resources, before gradually shifting to green hydrogen export. Against this background, this article seeks to understand how changes in the EU's energy landscape have affected the energy export sector and low-carbon hydrogen export developments in Norway from a multi-level perspective. Using the exploratory scenario approach, the article assesses the implications of the different petroleum exploration outcomes on the development of the low-carbon hydrogen export market in Norway. The findings show that despite gas discoveries, there is an urgent need for a phase-out plan for the Norwegian petroleum sector. For low-carbon hydrogen to play an important role in Norway's energy transition, time is of the essence and action needs to be taken during this window of opportunity. An industrial sector and its value chain could take 25 years to transform, which means that actions and policies for a full transformation pathway need to take place in Norway by 2025 to be ready for a climate-neutral Europe in 2050.

Related subjects: Policy & Socio-Economics
Countries: Norway

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