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Effects of rapid and frequent flow changes - EnviPEAK

EnviPEAK will address the changes that are expected in the operation of Norwegian hydropower plants as a consequence of the development of other energy sources, such as wind power. The main objective of EnviPEAK is to develop knowledge and tools to analyse, predict and mitigate environmental impacts from rapid and frequent changes in hydropower production regimes (‘hydropeaking’).

More flexible operation of hydropower systems could lead to more frequent and rapid changes in water flow. Photo: © Tor Haakon Bakken/SINTEF    

Increased electricity trade with Europe and the increased production of wind power is expected to lead to changes in the operation of Norwegian hydropower plants. Future scenarios predict more flexible operation of hydropower systems which may lead to more frequent and rapid changes in water flow and water levels in rivers, lakes, reservoirs and fjords. The main focus is the impacts in rivers. These variations will change the living conditions for fish, benthic animals and other animals and plants living in and near regulated rivers. There is a great need to analyse and predict these impacts, define the tolerance levels and find cost-efficient mitigation strategies.

The development of knowledge will be pursued through laboratory experiments and pilot studies in rivers carefully selected in collaboration between hydropower producers, authorities and researchers. Experiences from the pilot studies will form the basis for the development of basic knowledge and generalized tools for all types of regulations and water bodies.

EnviPEAK will develop:

  • Knowledge of environmental impacts from rapid and frequent changes in the operation of hydropower plants
  • Knowledge of mitigation measures for the reduction of potential impacts
  • Tools and methods to analyse the impacts and mitigation measures
  • Guidelines for environmentally acceptable hydropeaking

 

About EnviPEAK

 

Full project title: Environmental impacts of hydropeaking

Start: 2009

End: 2013

Finances: 37 million NOK

Contact: Tor Haakon Bakken, SINTEF

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