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Norway May Boost Hydro Output 12% by 2020, Survey Shows

Norway May Boost Hydro Output 12% by 2020, Survey Shows

Norway, Europe's biggest producer of hydropower, may increase annual production by 12 percent through 2020 as the country strives to meet EU targets for higher renewable energy output, an investor survey showed.

Hydropower investors are ready to build new plants and upgrade existing stations, adding at least 15 terawatt-hours of annual output to Norway’s average 130 terawatt-hours over the next eight years, a survey published today by the Oslo-based Center for International Climate and Environmental Research, Cicero, showed.

“Investors believe in a surprisingly high potential for raising production,” Kristin Linnerud, senior research fellow at Cicero, said today by e-mail from the Norwegian capital.

According to an agreement with the EU, Norway must step up the share of renewable energy in gross final energy consumption to 67.5 percent by 2020, an increase of 6.4 percentage points from 2010. Meanwhile, Norway and Sweden plan to boost annual renewable power production by 13.2 terawatt-hours each by 2020, using electricity certificate subsidies tradeable in both countries.

Altogether, hydropower developers have identified a potential for raising annual output by as much as 20 terawatt- hours, the survey showed. “However, they may underestimate the complexity and costs related to winning licensing from Norway’s water resources and energy directorate. I think 10 to 12 terawatt hours is more realistic, when accounting for limiting factors such as access to financing and power grids,” Linnerud said.

The Nordic country gets 99 percent of its electricity consumption by running water through turbines. Increases in power production are subject to permits from Norway’s Water Resources and Energy Directorate.

Norway could double installed capacity in its hydropower plants if it builds new cross-border links to ship the surplus electricity abroad, Christian Rynning-Toennesen, chief executive officer of Statkraft SF, Norway’s biggest power producer, said on Jan. 11.

Copyright 2013 Bloomberg

Lead image: Norway via Shutterstock

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