Energy Research Knowledge Centre


Research themes and prioritisation


Norway has two major national strategies for energy RD&D: Oil and Gas in the 21st Century (OG21) and Energi21. OG21 is a task force established to help the oil and gas industry formulate a national technology strategy for added value and competitive advantage. Energi21 sets out the desired course for RD&D of new technology for the 21st century. The strategy identifies six priority focus areas: solar cells (enhanced industrial development); offshore wind power (industrial development and utilisation of resources); utilisation of resources using balance power; flexible energy systems and smart grids; conversion of low-temperature heat to electricity; carbon capture and storage (CCS).

Organisation of research


The Ministry of Education and Research is responsible for basic research and coordination of the government’s general R&D policies. Individual ministries are responsible for funding R&D within their own sectors. The Ministry of Petroleum and Energy (MPE) is therefore in charge of Norway’s policy for petroleum and energy R&D.

The Research Council of Norway (RCN) is the government’s strategic and advisory body on R&D. It has a key role in financing and following up R&D as well as giving policy advice to the government. Funds go to higher education, research institutions and industry. In addition to the ministries and the RCN, industry and academia help to design and review high-level strategic plans as well as programmes and individual projects. Publicly funded demonstration programmes and projects are administered by several public agencies.

Norway has many research institutions working on energy research. These institutions receive a small part of their financing as basic funding from the Research Council. On top of this they compete for funding through programmes from the Research Council, EU, industry and other sources.

Figure 1. The most important organisations in Norway’s energy infrastructure.

Programmes and budgets


Budget overview

In 2012 the Research Council of Norway’s total budget was €998.9 million. The Ministry of Education and Research (€377.1 million) and the Ministry of Trade and Industry (€182.8 million) are the most important contributors to the Research Council’s budget, followed by the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy (€96.5 million). Approximately half of the research efforts (energy as well as non-energy-related) funded by the Research Council are organised under the auspices of research programmes (€449 million). Another large part is spent on independent projects (€114.5 million).

Public-private partnerships are encouraged through requirements for minimum levels of private-sector involvement in different types of projects funded by the Research Council. Norway has a strong tradition of private-sector participation in all stages of the energy RD&D process.

Table 1: The main energy research programmes in Norway.

* The first call for proposals has a budget framework for up to seven centres with an allocation to each centre of EUR 0.95-2.7 million per year from the Research Council (which is 50 % of the expected total budget).
** After a mid-term evaluation the period can be extended with 3 years.

Programmes and initiatives

The OG21 and Energi21 strategies are implemented through four main programmes and through the Centres for Environment‐Friendly Energy Research (CEERs). One of the programmes that is part of the OG21 strategy is PETROMAKS. The Energi21 strategy is implemented through the RENERGI programme. For RD&D on carbon capture and storage, the CLIMIT programme has been set up. Several publicly funded organisations support programme implementation.

Clean Energy for the Future (RENERGI)

Fremtidens rene energisystem (RENERGI)

The objective of RENERGI was to develop knowledge and solutions as a basis for environment-friendly, economically efficient and effective management of the country’s energy resources, a highly reliable energy supply, and internationally competitive industrial development. The total budget for the programme in the period 2004–2012 was almost €270 million for around 500 projects, and thanks to co-financing this amount was almost doubled. The new follow-up programme is called ENERGIX (see below).

Large-scale Programme for Energy Research (ENERGIX)

Stort Program Energi (ENERGIX)

The ENERGIX programme is designed to provide support for the long-term, sustainable restructuring of the energy system to accommodate a greater proportion of new renewable energy, improve efficiency and flexibility, and facilitate closer energy integration with Europe, with due consideration for the environment. The programme started in 2012 and will run until 2023. ENERGIX will be accepting grant proposals for projects in the thematic priority area ‘New concepts in the energy sphere’. This is a 2013 pilot call for proposals with a budget of NOK 25–30 million (almost €4 million) for basic research on novel concepts in energy research, or new approaches to existing concepts.

Large-scale Programme for Petroleum Research (PETROMAKS 1)

Stort program for petroleumsforskning (PETROMAKS 1)

The PETROMAKS programme was established by the Research Council in 2004. It is one of the most important tools for implementing the OG21 strategy. It encompasses basic and applied research in both academia and industry, and promotes industrial developments and knowledge creation to enhance the value of Norway’s petroleum resources. The programme is planned to end in 2013. The overall budget was €53.7 million.

Large-scale Programme for Petroleum Research (PETROMAKS 2)

Stort program for petroleumsforskning (PETROMAKS 2)

The PETROMAKS 2 programme promotes knowledge creation and industrial development to enhance value creation for society by ensuring the development and optimal management of Norwegian petroleum resources within an environmentally sustainable framework. The programme supports research and technology development for enhancing recovery from fields in production, exploration in immature areas, raising energy efficiency, reducing emissions, and research on activities relating to health, safety and the work environment. The annual budget is expected to increase to €40 million by 2017. PETROMAKS 2 began in 2012 and will run until 2022.

RD&D Program for CO2 Capture from Power Generation and Other Industrial Sources (CLIMIT)

Programmet for forskning, utvikling, pilotering og demonstrasjon av teknologier for CO2-håndtering fra kraftgenerering og andre industrielle kilder (CLIMIT)

The CLIMIT programme focuses specifically on carbon capture and storage. It was launched in 2005 to support the development of gas-fired power plants with CCS. Today the programme supports the development of CCS technology for all kinds of fossil fuel power production as well as industrial sources. The programme is managed by Gassnova in cooperation with the Research Council of Norway. The annual budget is approximately €24 million for the period 2013–2023.

Centres for Environment‐Friendly Energy Research (CEERs)

Forskningssentre for miljøvennlig energi (FME)

The Centres for Environment-friendly Energy Research (FME) shall develop expertise and promote innovation through focus on long-term research in selected areas of environment-friendly energy, transport and CO2 management in close cooperation between prominent research communities and users. The scheme seeks to enhance technology transfer, internationalisation and researcher training. The centres are co-financed by the host institution, the centre’s partners and the Research Council of Norway. User partners must take active part in the centres’ management and research activities. There are currently 11 Centres for Environment-friendly Energy Research: International CCS Research Centre (BIGCCS), Centre for Environmental Design of Renewable Energy (CEDREN), Bioenergy Innovation Centre (CENBIO), Norwegian Centre for Offshore Wind Energy (NORCOWE), Norwegian Research Centre for Offshore Wind Technology (NOWITECH), The Norwegian Research Centre for Solar Cell Technology, SUbsurface CO2 Storage – Critical Elements and Superior Strategy (SUCCESS),The Research Centre on Zero Emission Buildings (ZEB), Centre for Sustainable Energy Studies (CenSES), Strategic Challenges in International Climate and Energy Policy (CICEP), Oslo Center for Research on Environmentally friendly Energy (CREE).

National govermment departments


Ministry of Education and Research


This Ministry is responsible for international collaboration in education and research, among other areas. The Department of Research has overall responsibility for formulating and supervising Norwegian research policy and exercising the Minister’s coordination tasks in research issues, and has administrative responsibility for the Research Council of Norway. The Department is also responsible for the Norwegian Research and Innovation Fund and for funding basic research through the agency of the Research Council.

Ministry of Petroleum and Energy

Olje- og energidepartementet

The principal responsibility of the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy is to create a coordinated and integrated energy policy. A primary objective is to ensure high value creation through efficient and environment-friendly management of Norway’s energy resources.

Norwegian Petroleum Directorate


The paramount objective of the Petroleum Directorate is to contribute to creating the greatest possible values for society from oil and gas activities through prudent resource management based on safety, emergency preparedness and environmental protection.

Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate

Norges vassdrags- og energidirektorat (NVE)

NVE’s mandate is to ensure integrated and environmentally sound management of the country’s water resources, promote efficient energy markets and cost-effective energy systems, and contribute to efficient energy use.

National research programme management agencies


Enova SF

Enova is a public enterprise owned by the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy. Its main mission is to contribute to environmentally sound and rational use and production of energy, relying on financial instruments and incentives to stimulate market actors and mechanisms to achieve national energy policy goals. It administers project funding for Norway within the Intelligent Energy Europe programme.

Innovation Norway

Innovasjon Norge

Innovation Norway is responsible for innovation across all sectors of the economy, including energy. It is the most important instrument for innovation and development in Norwegian enterprises and industry. Enova and Innovation Norway cooperate closely to promote investment along the ‘innovation chain’.


Established in 2007, Gassnova advises the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy in matters relating to CCS, and works on the CLIMIT technology development programme in co-operation with the Research Council of Norway.

Funding organisations at national level


Research Council of Norway (RCN)


The Research Council is the official body for the development and implementation of national research strategy. It is responsible for enhancing Norway’s knowledge base and for promoting basic and applied research and innovation to help meet research needs within society. The Research Council also works to encourage international research cooperation.