Nordic co-operation on energy improves security of supply

18.10.23 | News
Sigurjon Ragnar
The Nordic energy ministers met in Reykjavík today to discuss current challenges and potential solutions. They issued a new declaration laying out their ambitions for continued close co-operation.

As Iceland holds the Presidency of the Nordic Council of Ministers, Reykjavík was the venue for today’s meeting of the Nordic energy ministers. At it, the ministers issued a new declaration on closer co-operation and helping to achieve the Nordic Council of Ministers’ Vision 2030 of the Nordic Region being the most integrated and sustainable region in the world.   

“A changing world in a period of conflict and climate change has shed new light on energy security and its importance for the Nordic Region. One of the biggest challenges facing Iceland and the Nordic Region today is guaranteeing adequate supplies of green, renewable energy at affordable prices for households and businesses. Iceland will address this challenge along with the other Nordic countries over the next few years. If the Nordic Region is to achieve its ambitious climate targets and the goal of green transition, then we need to generate more electricity. By continuing to work together, the Nordic countries will be able to lead the way in new energy technologies and innovation on energy and the climate. The Nordic countries have enormous potential to generate more electricity through wind energy, carbon capture and storage and electrofuels,” says Guðlaugur Þór Þórðarson, Minister for the Environment, Energy and Climate.

Security of supply 

The situation in which the Nordic Region finds itself at the moment forms the backdrop for the declaration. The security situation in neighbouring countries has posed challenges to energy supplies. Despite the Nordic countries weathering the crisis well together, high energy prices for businesses and households last winter highlighted the importance of the Nordic Region freeing itself from dependency on fossil fuels from untrustworthy regimes. The climate crisis is also a key issue – as evidenced by extreme weather events in the Nordic Region and elsewhere in the world, such as unusually heavy rain and storms in the North and droughts in the South. 

By continuing to work together, the Nordic countries will be able to lead the way in new energy technologies and innovation on energy and the climate. 

Guðlaugur Þór Þórðarson, Minister for the Environment, Energy and Climate

Significant green energy transition 

To meet the challenges faced at the moment and deliver on the ambition to be the most integrated and sustainable region in the world, the ministers want to work more closely together on security of supply and to expand the use of renewable sources such as solar, wind and hydro, combining them with geothermal, biomass and other more predictable means of generating electricity. They are particularly interested in the potential for offshore wind in the North Atlantic, the North Sea, the Baltic Sea and the Barents Sea.    


Hydrogen and other new technologies are important 

Since it is impossible to electrify all energy consumption, the ministers also want to see more work done on new technologies using hydrogen, ammonia and electrofuels. 

“Together, we have the critical mass needed in research and innovation to make the Nordic Region a leader in the development of new technologies,” the ministers say. 

Declaration by the energy ministers, 18 October 2023

The geopolitical situation in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine has underlined the importance of stable and affordable energy supplies. The many severe weather events this summer in the Nordic Region and elsewhere have also underlined the need for a significant green transition of society. The Nordic countries all have ambitious climate goals. Energy transition is essential to achieving them and will also improve security of supply. Nordic co-operation has proven its strength and importance in the face of recent crises.

We, the Nordic energy ministers, discussed the following at our meeting in Reykjavík:

  • How to use what we have learnt from the recent crisis to improve supply and progress towards the green transition of the Nordic countries. There are important lessons to be learnt from the recent past so that the crisis acts as a trigger for new developments that also protect consumer interests during the transition. The cohesion of the Nordic Region is important, especially when it comes to continuing to guarantee security of supply.
  • The security situation and subsequent shortages in the energy market have highlighted the strengths and weaknesses of the European electricity markets and energy systems. Prices rose due to shortages. In all of the countries, we saw how significant energy savings were made last winter. A well-functioning electricity market, improvements to energy efficiency and flexible consumption will all contribute to security of supply. A joint project has been initiated to make sure that we learn from each other’s experiences.
  • More widespread electrification is a crucial prerequisite for the energy transition, achieving climate goals and becoming independent of imports. Generating more electricity in the Nordic Region is a task for the individual countries, which have different natural resources and choose different energy mixes, but the Nordic Region is closely interconnected, so working closely together is good for the transition, security of supply and the ability to keep costs down. The next few years will see major expansion in renewables such as solar and wind power, and they must be combined with hydro-electricity, geothermal energy, biomass and other more predictable ways of generating electricity to ensure a stable and cost-effective energy system and a well-functioning electricity market.
  • Offshore wind has the potential to provide a significant boost to the production of renewable electricity. Nordic waters in the North Atlantic, North Sea, Baltic Sea and Barents Sea are particularly ripe for development. Nordic co-operation can help exploit this great potential. This includes working together on infrastructure, environmental concerns, biodiversity, public acceptance and security, all areas in which building and sharing a knowledge base will help develop good solutions.
  • The fact that it is impossible to electrify all energy consumption makes it important to work on hydrogen, ammonia and electrofuels, new technologies that will facilitate the green transition in sectors difficult to electrify. The Nordic countries are also well placed to use CSS to achieve negative carbon dioxide emissions. Together, we have the critical mass needed in research and innovation to make the Nordic Region a leader in the development of new technologies and reduce dependency on the import of fossil fuels. We see particularly good potential in Nordic co-operation on hydrogen and have initiated joint activities to support this position of strength.

The Nordic energy ministers will continue to work closely together in the run-up to 2030.