Norway - Direct Uses




geothermal heat pumps





Total thermal installed capacity in MWt


Direct use in TJ/year


Direct use in GWh/year


Capacity factor



Country Update: The major geothermal activity in Norway is the utilization of geothermal heat pumps (GHP). In Norway, the main uses of energy in households, is for space heating. Depending on winter temperatures, the proportion of energy used for heating varies from 40 to 50 percent of a household’s stationary energy consumption. One of the major sources of increased energy efficiency in household space heating in recent times is the increased use of heat pumps during the last decade. Now, over a quarter of Norwegian households own a heat pump, approximately 90% of which are air-to-air systems. Of the geothermal heat pumps, more than 90% utilize energy from boreholes in crystalline rocks by use of borehole heat exchangers (BHE). The Norwegian standard system is a 50 to 350 m deep borehole of 115 mm (casing 139 mm) diameter with a single 40 mm U-tube installed. Most of the BHE are kept open without grouting. There is a trend towards deeper BHEs consisting of a 500 m deep single U-tube which have been successful in delivering heat since 2011. Some of the BHE fields established recently have boreholes of 300 m depth. There has been an increase in GHP for larger buildings after a new building code with strict requirements for energy efficiency was introduced in 2007 and revised in 2010. There are 17 large GHP systems installed in the country. These new energy performance requirements are expected to cut the need for energy for heating purposes by around 25%. Some locations in Norway utilize groundwater resources in superficial deposits. The largest underground thermal energy storage system (UTES) in Norway is at the Oslo’s Gardermoen international airport. This UTES system has been in operation since the airport opened in 1998 and comprises an 8 MW heat pump, coupled to 18 wells at 45 m depth, nine for extraction of groundwater and nine for re-injection. All these systems use ground or groundwater temperatures in the 6 to 8oC range. The total installed capacity for GHPs is 1,300 MWt and an annual energy use of 8,260 TJ/yr (Midttømme et al., 2015).

Taken from: John W. Lund and Tonya L. Boyd
Published in Direct Utilization of Geothermal Energy 2015 Worldwide Review

Total thermal installed capacity in MWt:3,300
Direct use in TJ/year25,200
Direct use in GWh/year7,000.6
Capacity factor0.24

Recent policy in Norway is to reduce the dependence on hydropower by restricting demand and increasing diversity. To plan, coordinate and promote research and development within geothermal energy in Norway, the "Norwegian Centre for Geothermal Energy Research" (CGER) was established in 2009 with 19 partners from universities, colleges, research institutes and industry. The center aims to facilitate the exploitation of geothermal energy as a national energy source and international business object.

At present the geothermal energy use in the country is with geothermal heat pumps (GSHP). The total number of installations is estimated at 26,000 with an installed capacity of 3,300 MWt. More than 90% of these installations are vertical boreholes with single U-shaped pipes in open groundwater-filled boreholes.

Today, about 350 large GSHP systems for public, commercial buildings or multi-family dwellings are installed, including some of the European largest GSHP with borehole heat exchangers (BHE). These installations are borehole thermal energy storage (BTES) systems providing a balanced combination of both heating and cooling. One of the largest system comprising 228 boreholes of 200 m depth provides heating and cooling to the new Akershus University Hospital (137,000 m2). It is planned to expand the system to 350 boreholes. 

The total installed capacity of GSHP is 3,300 MWt producing 25,200 TJ/yr of heat energy (Midttømme et al., 2010); however, the accuracy of the data is uncertain.

Taken from the paper by John W. Lund, Derek H. Freeston, and Tonya L. Boyd: "Direct Utilization of Geothermal Energy 2010 Worldwide Review"; published in Proceedings of the World Geothermal Congress 2010, Bali, Indonesia, 25-29 April 2010