A group of 21 organisations have come together with several proposals for Norway’s next government to cut down on energy bills and reduce the country’s carbon footprint.
Among the proposals, the organisations are asking the government to pump one billion kroner per year into helping homes and businesses reduce their electricity consumption by making them more energy efficient.
“Now we see that the price of electricity can be high. But helping people to use less electricity can make households less vulnerable to the rises,” Bård Folke Fredriksen, CEO of the Norwegian Housing Association (NBBL), told public broadcaster NRK.
The NBBL is among the consumer, environmental, employee and industrial organisations lobbying the government to invest in cutting energy consumption and offer support to households struggling to pay their electricity bills.
Energy price records have been set throughout the end of summer and early autumn in southern Norway mean many households have been feeling the pinch recently, with energy prices expected to continue to rise throughout the winter.
Fredriksen believes that up to 20Twh a year, or twice as much power as the country produces in wind energy, could be saved by cutting waste.
The Norwegian Society for Nature Conservation backs the proposals and says that making sure homes are more energy efficient is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to reduce the country’s carbon footprint.
“Energy saving is the largest, cheapest and most environmentally friendly power plant we have, but it has unfortunately not been developed,” Truls Gullowsen from the society for conservation told NRK.
In addition to the funding and the financial help for households, the proposals include schemes aimed at helping housing associations reduce electricity usage, helping certain groups access funds to make their homes more efficient through the housing bank, making sure municipalities have a service where they can offer free energy advice and offering grants to local authorities that implement energy-saving measures.
Fredriksen, whose group represents 1.1 million members and 570,000 homes across the country, says schemes aimed at helping housing associations invest in greener energy are essential.
“It can be difficult to get a majority for large investments in the housing association. But if you get a carrot by saving electricity and getting support from Enova (the state-owned enterprise for helping the country move towards green energy), then more people will be motivated to join,” he explained.
Energy spokesperson for the Labour Party, Espen Barth Eide, said the party wouldn’t comment on the proposals while still in government negotiations.