Norwegian hydropower reservoirs offer the possibility for balancing the growing wind power production in Europe. Photo: Antti Eloranta
European countries are in the process of increasing the share of renewable energy in their electricity generation, bringing more energy production from wind and solar power on the electricity market. The variable, fluctuating nature of these energy sources creates an increased need to balance consumption and generation. Hydroelectric power generation systems can store energy by storage of water in reservoirs and offer flexible operation, but it is also possible to store energy for later electricity generation by pumping water from a lower reservoir to a higher one. Norwegian hydroelectric reservoirs have considerable storage capacity, and there is significant interest in Norway’s ability to balance demand and generation over various time scales on the European power market.
The HydroBalance Project addresses some key challenges for the development of large scale energy balancing and storage from Norwegian hydro.
- Draw a picture of potential future uses of hydropower flexibility and storage up to the year 2050
- Assess the need for flexibility and storage by Norwegian hydropower
- Investigate how balancing as a service provided by hydropower may enter the markets, and assess economic opportunities.
- Examine environmental impacts of new operational regimes in reservoirs, and how to mitigate these.
- Analyse challenges in terms of regulatory framework, policy, public acceptance and economic conditions.
- Summarise results throughout the project in a roadmap for large-scale energy balancing and storage from Norwegian hydropower.