In many cases, NRK has reported on the harm hydropower causes to fish in rivers.
Turbines that produce renewable energy from water Minced meat of fish.
Rivers that suddenly overflowed from the water saw fish beaches and die.
– There is no doubt that fish suffer, says Torunn Knævelsrud, department manager at the Norwegian Food Safety Authority. The inspection body says this is happening in hydroelectric rivers across the country.
The Norwegian Food Safety Authority must prevent and detect violations of the Animal Welfare Act
.- There is also no doubt that the Animal Welfare Act applies to all animals, including wild fish, says Knævelsrud.
But that doesn’t mean that suffering fish will always be illegal.
The law allows animals to suffer, if any it is necessary.
In other words: the social benefit of hydropower can outweigh the suffering of fish.
been warned for years
It was fisherman Tore Solbakken who contacted the Norwegian Food Safety Authority, after NRK’s cases on hydropower damage. But by then he had already warned years ago.
He was only 15 years old when he first witnessed the mass stranding of fish in the river where he was standing.
– he was desperate. I only managed to save a little, Solbakken says. Since then, he has fought for fish in hydroelectric rivers.
– but it’s not sport fishing either not necessary Suffering for fish?
Sport fishing is strictly controlled. The Animal Welfare Act applies to us. That’s how it should be, and that’s how it should be for hydroelectric power too, Solbakken says.
The Animal Welfare Act requires developers and owners of power plants to do what is possible to protect fish, within reasonable limits, according to the Norwegian Food Safety Authority.
Only the Norwegian Food Safety Authority has the authority to decide if fish suffer not necessary, So that the Animal Welfare Act was brokenAnd the says department director Torunn Knævelsrud.
– But can the owners and builders be punished for this, when the Energy Authority gave permission to the power plant?
– I don’t know. As far as I know, he was never tried in court, says Knævelsrud.
– Comprehensive process
– We build power plants after they have gone through a thorough process with the authorities, where the advantages and disadvantages are weighed against each other and permission is granted, says Øystein Grundt of the Small Energy Association.
– It is unacceptable for large quantities of fish to go into the turbines, he says Eyvind Heloy, Director, Renewables and Environment In the industry organization Energi Norge.
Turbine death and running are both solvable problems, Heloy says, and more and more power plants are using these problems,
Read the full response from the hydroelectric industry at the bottom of the issue.
Fish massacre for 14 years
In Storelva below the Fosstveit power station in Agder, they have been picking up fish carcasses that have been abused for 14 years.
– We are talking about several hundred kilograms, says Werner Groff of the River Owners Association.
The Norwegian Water and Energy Agency was not able to intervene, because the power plant did license exemption.
But now the fish massacre must end. After NRK wrote about the issue, the new owners took over.
Småkraft AS promises to rebuild the power plant, so that the fish will pass alive. Work is scheduled for completion in fall 2023.
Meanwhile, a temporary net has been placed in front of the turbines to save the fish, says managing director Terje Vedeler.
Disruption can be avoided
All turbines can be death traps for fish. But the professionals have evolved Solution. One such object has been used at the Palmafossen power station in Voss.
Here, fish are driven along a net, out of sharp rotating steel blades.
The safe migration of fish was a requirement of the Energy Authority when the power plant at Palmafossen was granted a license in 2015.
The Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Agency (NVE) does not have an overview of how many of the other 1,700 hydroelectric power plants in Norway have such requirements imposed on them.
when the water disappears
The water level in Norwegian rivers fluctuates faster and faster, in keeping with the unstable electricity prices.
Power plants produce electricity when the price is high. When the price drops, it slows down to a minimum and the water disappears.
If it goes too fast, the fish won’t be able to get away. It strands and dies, or becomes food for birds.
NRK put a camera in Daeelva in Vestland this summer, to see what happens.
A new study shows that yo-yo driving is allowed, and it is widespread Netno.
Probably Limit He. She. But NVE does not know how many power plants have such restrictions imposed on them.
Is suffering necessary?
– We note that there are solutions to prevent fish dying from running aground or being crushed in the turbines, says Torunn Knævelsrud, department manager at the Norwegian Food Safety Authority.
– These are solutions that simultaneously make it possible to produce energy. Then there is reason to wonder whether, as you say, the suffering to which the fish is subjected is necessary.
Knævelsrud believes the Norwegian Food Safety Authority should be consulted before hydropower permits are granted or renewed. This does not always happen today.
The authority asked the NVE to hold a meeting to discuss the matter.
– We think that makes sense, says the department manager at NVE, Carsten Stieg-Jensen.
Unified management is desirable to avoid conflicting decisions and orders from different public bodies.
Read the full response from NVE below:
Climate or nature – do we have to choose?
For this we write this case: Hydropower is renewable and helps the climate. But it also harms nature. Should it be like this?
In a series of cases, we investigate the climate benefits and nature loss of Norwegian hydropower. Here are some of them:
Do you have input? Contact Astri Thunold and Hannah Amanda Hansen.
“Web specialist. Lifelong zombie maven. Coffee ninja. Hipster-friendly analyst.”