Oslo, Norway’s street lighting retrofit

Location: Oslo, Norway

Population: 693,491 [capital city].

Climate: Humid Continental

Duration: 2011-onwards

Sector: Lighting

Funding sources: Public Sector

City networks: C40

Savings: Energy reduction by 70%.

Solutions: A high-performance and high-pressure sodium lights implementation.

Multiple benefits: CO2 emissions reductions as well as an energy-saving potential of 4.5 GWh/year.

Based on the struggle for saving energy and improve the sustainability of Oslo, the capital of Norway, the efficiency of street lighting was highlighted as one of the prosperous options. The ambitious goals resulted in a plan for replacement of old fixtures with new high-performance fixtures [source].

The initiative is a joint venture between the City of Oslo and Hafslund ASA, the largest electricity distribution company in Norway.

Objective – Increase the efficiency of street lighting in the city of Oslo

Solutions – Old fixtures containing printed circuit boards (PCB) and mercury have been replaced with high-performance and high-pressure sodium lights, together with an advanced data communication system using power line transmission, wich has reduced the need for maintenance.

By using electronic dimming gear and power-line communication each luminary is individually controlled, monitored and manipulated to both save energy and increase the safety level for the ordinance [source].

In Oslo, 10,000 intelligent streetlights are operated by a central database that monitors and administers commands. The system utilizes telecommunication (General Packet Radio Service technology) between the central database and the switch cabinet located in the street. The switch cabinet receives messages from the central database and transmits these to the individual lamps via the existing 230V power cables.

Funding – €12 million.

Innovation – The use of an innovative and energy-efficient form of street lighting with an advanced communication system means that each lamp can be dimmed individually when traffic and climate conditions permit. This increases the life expectancy of lamps and equipment, generating huge economic and energy savings. Moreover, the power line transmission of data to a GIS-database containing information on every single fixture enables the operator to easily identify lamps that have or soon will burn out. This technology is estimated to increase efficiencies by 30%.

Success factors – 1) The new high-performance and high-pressure sodium lights allow for a reduction in the level of light when needs are low, saving energy and cutting pollution; 2) The new lights include electronic gears in each lamp that measure rates of consumption by the different consumers – including private companies, public parks and streets. This means energy consumption can be accurately measured and taxed. Users are not billed on anticipated volume of use (older systems are often based on fixed operating hours) but their actual consumption, creating incentives and consumer demand for greater efficiencies.

Significant outcomes:

  • Energy consumption reduction by 70% compared to the old system for street lighting;
  • CO2 emissions reduction by 1440 tonnes per year;
  • 10,000 high-pressure sodium lights have been introduced around the city.
  • The energy-saving potential has been estimated to 4.5 GWh/year.

Synergies with local policies:

  • Climate and Energy Strategy for Oslo targets to cut greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2020, and by 95% by 2030, from the 1990 level [source].
  • Municipal plan 2015: Oslo towards 2030 consists of three focus areas: smart, safe and green with associated goals and initiatives, as well as an urban development strategy that indicates the physical development of the city in accordance with the focus areas.
  • City plan for Oslo 2018 sets goals and strategies towards 2040 with a focus on a greener, warmer and more creative city.

Political alignment:

  • Climate strategy for 2030 target for non-compulsory emissions will be achieved with the main emphasis on domestic emission reductions and with the necessary use of the EU regulatory flexibility mechanisms [source].
  • Update of Norway’s nationally determined contribution. Norway’s new and strengthened target is to reduce emissions with at least 50 %, and towards 55 % by 2030 compared to 1990 levels [source].
  • Norwegian Energy Policy aims to provide a suitable framework for maintaining an efficient, climate-friendly and reliable energy supply system.
  • Climate Change Act promotes the implementation of Norway’s climate targets as part of the transition to a low carbon society in Norway in 2050. The law enshrines the country’s 2030 and 2050 emissions reductions targets (carbon neutrality by 2050), and the annual and five-year reviewing processes deriving from the Paris Agreement [source].


The implementation of an overall database structure independent of manufacturers delivering the light installation is in an implementation phase together with other European partners from the EU supported E-street project. The E-street project covers energy efficiency activities, the development of international standards and the clustering of street light owners. The project counts 12 partners from 11 European countries.

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Sector: Lighting

Country / Region: Norway

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In 1 user collection: Good practices of cities

Knowledge Object: User generated Initiative

Published by: C40