Norway energy commission urges haste in power expansion

OSLO, Feb 1 (Reuters) - A Norwegian government-appointed commission on Wednesday proposed to speed up the country's efforts to produce more power, expand grid capacity and to become more energy efficient, or otherwise risk shortages and missing its climate goals.

Norway's minority centre-left government last year tasked the so-called Energy Commission with surveying the country's needs and how to ensure sufficient future power supply and affordable electricity prices.

"If we are to achieve the climate goals and bring about a green transition, power consumption will increase significantly, especially towards 2030, but also towards 2050," the commission said.

Norway has committed to cutting emissions by 55% by 2030, much of which hinges on decarbonising industry, including powering offshore oil and gas platforms with green electricity from shore.

Increased demand risks causing a power deficit by 2027, transmission system operator Statnett has warned.

Meanwhile, the government is also eager to rein in power prices, which soared some 180% to record highs in southern parts of the country last year.

The commission said Norway should increase its annual power generation, currently totalling around 155 terawatt hours (TWh), by at least 40 TWh by 2030, combining wind, solar and hydropower.

Norway is planning to develop large quantities of offshore wind capacity by 2040, although it has yet to start issuing permits, while onshore wind licensing only resumed last year following a three-year hiatus and remains hugely controversial.

Reporting by Nora Buli, editing by Terje Solsvik

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