Hydropower giant China looks to Norway

Published on: 4. July 2014

Last week Chinese scientists visited Norway to discuss sustainable hydropower development in China and Norway with their Norwegian partners in the CEDREN project Future Hydro.




Hydropower giant China looks to Norway

- Most of the Chinese hydropower companies and research institutes know Norwegian hydropower, says senior professor Ma Jiming from Tsinghua University in China, and explains that Norway is known for good technical and environmental solutions.

Ma Jiming is one of the partners in Future Hydro, a project that aims to promote exchange of knowledge, technology and experience between China and Norway. During the Ecohydraulics conference in Trondheim last week, the Future Hydro participants met for a workshop.


Chinese hydropower development with environmental focus


China, the world’s largest hydropower producer, has more than tripled their hydropower production since 2000. Now they plan to increase the installed capacity further, with special attention paid to environmental protection. 

- We must try to balance hydropower production and environmental protection, Ma Jiming underlines.


CEDREN (Centre for Environmental Design of Renewable Energy), is the Norwegian partner in the Future Hydro project. Integrating technolo

- CEDREN has a large interest in contributing to solving some of the environmental challenges related to renewable energy, says CEDREN researcher Peggy Zinke (Sintef).gy, nature and society in their research, their expertise is renewable energy respecting nature. 

Cooperating with China creates a possibility to test their methods on a much larger scale and under different circumstances, comparing experiences and sharing knowledge.


Environmental flow and fish ladders

Professor Xin Sui from China Institute of Water Resources and Hydropower Research (IWHR) highlights Norway’s knowledge on environmental flow, fish ladders and other mitigation measures for fish habitat improvement.

- We are preparing guidelines for the Ministry of the environment in China right now, with focus on environmental flow and mitigation measures for fish. So the timing is very good, she says.

Last fall CEDREN launched a new handbook of environmental design in regulated salmon rivers

- One of our goals is to have the handbook translated into Chinese, Xin Sui says. 


The green battery

- China is focusing on integrating hydropower with other renewable energy sources. Europe has the same challenge, and this is very interesting for Norway as a potential “green battery” for Europe, says Atle Harby (Sintef), project leader for Future Hydro.

One of the main objectives for future Hydro is to increase the scientific knowledge regarding the use of hydropower and pump-storage as a battery to balance intermittent energy sources.

- At the workshop the Chinese participants presented data on the status and future of renewable energy, hydropower and pumped hydroelectric storage (PHS) in China. Their analyses will be summed up in a Future Hydro report and are of large interest also for the Norwegian side, Peggy Zinke explains.


To China next year

- In 2015 we are planning a trip back to China, where we will visit Beijing, the North China University of Water Resources and Electric Power (NCWU) and the Three Gorges dam, says Atle Harby.

Harby adds that there might also be an opportunity for representatives from Norwegian hydropower companies cooperating with CEDREN to come along on this trip.

- The intention is also opening up possibilities of cooperation between Norwegian companies and China, and between Norwegian and Chinese educational institutions, says Peggy Zinke.

The Chinese Future Hydro partners on an excursion to the Nea catchment with professor Ånund Killingtveit (NTNU) to look at mitigation measures in regulated rivers. Some of these rivers are among the best fly fishing rivers in Europe!