Generation

Norway's potential to deliver balancing services (to 'Europe') depends on many complex factors but first of all on the amount of hydropower capacities available for this purpose and the amount of balancing power that is needed 'localy' (in the Nordic system).

Today, Norwegian reservoirs are used for:
- Short-term regulation – a daily or weekly filling and emptying cycle.
- Seasonal regulation – storing water in summer for use in winter months, when the demand for power peaks (most common practice).
- Multi-year regulation (dry-year) – also possible due to the large reservoirs that can store water in wet years for use in years when precipitation is low.

In the future, Norway has a large potential for increasing its hydropower and pump and storage capacity. This potential lies, primarily, not in building new reservoirs and generation capacities, but in increasing the generation capacity of the existing power plants, improve the use of existing reservoirs and building additional pumps (between existing reservoirs).  

Most of Norway’s approximately 370 storage hydroelectric power stations comprise multi-lake systems whose various lakes are often interconnected by underground tunnels and pressure shafts. Such systems can theoretically be converted to pump storage systems at relatively low cost. However to obtain a significant increase of power production for balancing purposes, the turbine capacity in the exising power plants (currently 22 GW) will have to be expanded, apart from stepping up the pumping capacity. This implies the construction of additional inflow tunnels, pressure shafts, pumps and turbines whose realization would require long term planning and sufficiently long lead times.

This  page contains information, links to projects, case studies and scenarios for increasing the balancing capabilities of the Norwegian hydropower system.

Logo SINTEF Logo NINA Logo NTNU