Oslo fossil free by 2050

Date: 24 February 2015

Oslo has developed a new strategy for how the city can be free of fossil fuels by 2050. Ramboll has assisted the municipality of Oslo towards its goal.

Last week, environmental city council member Guri Melby was presented with a strategy and a road map for how the city of Oslo will accomplish its green change.

Drafts for “Climate and energy strategy for Oslo” show how the city can cut its fossil fuel emissions in half by 2030 and become fossil free in 2050. “This is the first time we have had such an extensive evaluation of environmental and energy issues across different city sectors”, says Guri Melby in a comment.

A paradigm shift
When developing the strategy, the municipality of Oslo involved 40 companies from the corporate world, the state, and the municipality. For the last one and a half years, the operators have been discussing the direction of the development and the next steps towards 2030 and 2050 for the transport sector, the building sector, the sector for resource utilisation and the sector for energy production and distribution.

The climate and energy strategy concerns both energy resources, energy production/distribution and energy consumption in all sectors.

“The transition from fossil free energy and transport systems is a paradigm shift which will require big investments and powerful initiatives that will affect all parts of society and the city Development”, says Paul Guldstrand in Ramboll’s energy division, who has been working full-time on the new strategy.

Sustainable and liveable cities
Ramboll has worked as a field expert, project manager and sector manager, while also being involved in developing the report. “This is a strategy in line with Ramboll’s own focus on sustainable and liveable cities. This is a holistic approach to city development, transport, buildings and energy solutions.”

The transportation challenge
Analyses show that even with great efforts on environmental issues in Oslo, the emission arrows still point in the wrong direction. The projections show that the emissions in the city will increase unless new initiatives, which not only reduce, but also contribute to a change of attitude, are implemented.

The biggest challenge is transportation and the goal is that all increase in passenger transport will be solved through public transport, bicycling and walking. City development is crucial around transport centres. From 2020, all public buses and all new taxis will be fossil free. From 2025, all new cars to be sold in Oslo will be fossil free or chargeable hybrid cars.

A new energy system
The strategy proposes an establishment of an overall energy plan (heating and cooling plan) for Oslo by 2020.

“A new energy system will make it possible for Oslo to reach the goal of being a fossil free city by the year 2050, maintain energy security, and efficiently use our available energy resources”, says Guldstrand, who underlines that both regulatory and organisational changes are necessary to reach the goal of a fossil free city. “This concerns both the local and national level. Municipalities must be given a mandate to select energy solutions. Implementation of intelligent technological systems which interact with each other is also necessary”.

Hearing
A hearing of the strategy draft will be held before the final version is presented to the city council this spring. Guri Melby is excited to hear what the rest of the city think of the strategy: “The climate and energy strategy is now public on the municipality’s homepage, and we invite everyone who is interested to make suggestions before the strategy is to be evaluated by the city council. On February 11 we held an open input meeting where we shed light on the most important challenges the city is facing over the next years in order to make the green change.”