Norway is a major producer of hydropower. Nearly one third of this power is used in the production of metals, chemicals, petrochemicals, mineral products, paper and pulp. Norway’s process industry is the country’s largest land-based export sector. The nearly exclusive use of hydropower allows Norway to operate its facilities more economically and cleanly than most other countries.
Norway is a major global supplier of metals such as aluminium, magnesium and ferroalloys, and is one of the world’s largest producers and exporters of primary aluminium. Aluminium semis are used by end-user industries in construction, transport and packaging. Ferroalloys such as ferrosilicon, ferromanganese and ferrochrome are mainly used in steel production. Norway also produces silicon metal, zinc, nickel and copper.
Constructed by Norsk Hydro, the first large-scale hydropower complex in Norway was completed in 1907. The largest power plant in Europe at that time, it was built to provide electricity for the production of agricultural fertilizers. Norsk Hydro is now Europe’s leading supplier of nitrate, complex fertilizers, urea and ammonia. As Europe’s major oil and gas nation, Norway is also a source of the raw materials used in the production of plastic compounds such as vinyl chloride monomer and polyvinyl chloride (PVC). Technical products such as paints, adhesives, detergents, alginates and fine chemicals comprise yet another sector of the Norwegian chemical industry.
Pulp & Paper
The combination of extensive forest resources and affordable hydropower has also given Norway a major role in the world pulp and paper markets. Some 90 per cent of the country’s pulp and paper production is exported. Norwegian pulp producers supply various kinds of pulp, including the short and long-fibred sulphate market pulp which constitutes an important component of newsprint and magazine paper.
Protecting the Environment
Pollution from Norwegian process industries is subject to a range of “green taxes”, ensuring that the consumer bear the costs of clean production. Over the last ten years, emissions of harmful substances have declined by 90 per cent, and emissions of greenhouse gases by about 10 per cent.