Hydro Power in Norway

The Norwegian hydro market is in robust health. In October of last year renewable energy company Norsk Hydro announced that it has plans to invest 141 million US dollars over the next four years to upgrade the Rjukan hydropower system in Telemark, in the southeast of Norway.

The system in Norway comprises of five plants with a combined annual generation of about 3 TWh. This is 30% of Norsk Hydro’s annual hydro production. With the upgrade the waterways will be improved, new control systems and a power distribution will be installed and rehabilitation generators and turbines will be upgraded.

Work is due to start in 2011 and be completed in 2015. Activities requiring total shutdown of all five plants will be executed in two outage periods of about 16 weeks each, in 2012 and 2014.

This development followed the autumn start of construction at Norsk Hydro’s Holsbru project with the blasting of feeder tunnels from Holsbruvatn and Rausdøla lakes to an existing hydro station at Tyin. The new tunnels will allow Norsk Hydro to utilize previously unused water resources and, by resuming production from two of the units at Tyin (which has been out of service since 2004), the company will increase production by 84 GWh, with total power production from Tyin exceeding 1,600 GWh. Slightly more than $31.7 million will be invested in the project.

In addition, Norsk Hydro has applied for a concession to build a hydro plant at Øyane and a 113 GWh pumped-storage plant at Ilvatn. If regulatory approval is granted, the company plans to start work at Ilvatn in 2012, with commercial operations expected mid-2015. Construction on the 98 GWh Øyane station is expected to start in mid-2012 and take two years. Norsk Hydro has a stated aim of increasing its hydro production by 10% over the coming years from the current 94 TWh annual average output.