Nordic power exports may climb as high as 100 terawatt-hours by 2050, if the region succeeds in pioneering a low-carbon energy system.
“With the right infrastructure and pricing in place, the Nordic region could achieve annual exports of 50 TWh to 100 TWh over the longer term,” according to an interim report released today in Oslo by the International Energy Agency and Nordic Energy Research, an intergovernmental funding institution financed by Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Norway and Iceland.
For this to happen, the region must source a quarter of total annual electricity output from wind power by 2050, compared with 7 percent last year.
The region must also build more flexible generation capacity, as well as boosting grid interconnections, demand response and power storage, which will need investments equal to 0.7 percent of cumulative GDP over the period, according to the report.
It said the stemming of global warming to 2 degrees Celsius is at stake. Nordic countries have set their targets higher than those recommended by the IEA, aiming for deeper cuts than a 70 percent reduction in CO2 emissions by 2050 from 1990.
“Considering its rich renewable energy resources and strong policies already in place, the Nordic region could be the first in the world to achieve a carbon-neutral energy system, but it will not be easy,” Markus Wrake, head of the IEA’s Energy Supply Unit, said in a statement.
Key challenges include getting social acceptance for new grids and power plants, as well as boosting carbon capture and storage technology development, where progress has been slow and uncoordinated, according to the report.
The final report will be published in January.