Statecraft wants to produce as much electricity as possible – now NVE recommends they release more water – NRK Nordland

Statecraft wants to produce as much electricity as possible – now NVE recommends they release more water – NRK Nordland

In many Norwegian rivers, there is a choice between wild salmon and green energy production.

Often, wild salmon must lead to power generation.

One of these rivers is the Skjoma in Nordland.

The 62 kilometer long river in the municipality of Narvik is one of Norway’s best salmon rivers. The British also came to fish in the Nalla river.

But in 1969 everything changed.

Since the Skjomen power plant was built 50 years ago, almost all salmon and marine fish have disappeared. At that time there were no stringent environmental requirements.

Schoeman: The salmon in the river freeze to death due to lack of ice and water

Photo: Frida Brembo / NRK

This has led to very little water in the river for fish, causing both salmon and fish eggs to freeze over in the winter.

Local residents, the municipality and a joint environmental movement have feared for salmon for years, and Statecraft has responded that releasing the water could cost them money.

In 2020, the Norwegian Institute for Natural Research (NINA) determined that the situation of salmon and trout in the river was very serious.

Now the Norwegian Directorate of Waterways and Energy (NVE) has re-evaluated the permit Statkraft received 50 years ago, along with 430 other Norwegian waterways.

The question is: Is it worth reducing renewable energy to save a small ecosystem?

NVE puts its foot down

Yes, says NVE Conclusion Thursday came.

Inga Nordberg, Director of Energy and Licensing at NVE

– We recommend that the old conditions be replaced by modern license conditions for regulation, says Inga Nordberg at NVE.

Photo: Stig Storheil / NVE

NVE’s clear recommendation is that Statecraft releases more water into the waterway in summer and winter.

The new conditions will give officials extended opportunities to order statecraft to release enough water year-round to improve the farming and living conditions of salmon and sea trout.

NVE has sent a recommendation to the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy where they recommend replacing the old conditions with modern license conditions.

They also want Statecraft to be required to develop a plan to improve biological conditions in Skjoma. Such a program includes natural science studies, outdoor living activities, and cultural heritage studies.

Inga Nordberg, director of the Energy and Licensing Department at NVE, concludes that this will lead to significant environmental improvements in a waterway with large and important environmental values.

– An early success

Geir Solmo in Skjøman realized that the river was frozen.

He is happy with the outcome of NVE.

– This is ETemporary success for us.

Keir Solmo at Skjømen in Norvik

Geir Solmo, a board member of the Naturvernforbundet in Norvik and a member of the village committee, has been fighting for the Skjomenvassdraget for ten years.

Photo: Frida Brembo-Egilsrud / NRK

At the same time, he is excited about whether Statkraft will follow NVE’s recommendations.

– I am In this time of power crisis, they can continue their argument about the need for power. But we cannot sacrifice all nature. I hope the Ministry will go in favor of the recommendation for NVE.

missing 40 GWh

The power plant is currently producing sufficient electricity 60,000 homes are electrified annually.

The proposed restrictions on water flow would result in a production loss of less than 40 GWh compared to today. This is equivalent to the electricity consumption of about 2,000 homes, according to Statcraft.

But according to NVE, this will not affect electricity supply in the region.

This is not a small loss of production, but NVE writes that they put more emphasis on considering the environmental values ​​of the waterway.

In the coming years, NVE will carry out a new assessment of several waterways in Norway.

Minimum water flow directives will be established in cases where this would provide the greatest environmental benefit. NVE believes Skjoma is one of them, Nordberg says.

Statecraft: – Equivalent to powering 2,000 homes

Skjomen is one of 19 power plants in Norway with an installed output of 300 MW or more. Statecraft is responsible for the power plant at Skjoma. Today, they received NVE’s recommendationNew license conditions.

In an email, they write that they are surprised that NVE is proposing what they believe would significantly weaken regulation’s contribution to a secure energy supply.

Salmon are good under the ice at Skjomen.

Frozen salmon under ice. But according to Statkraft, Skjomen is part of the backbone of Norway’s electricity supply and is regionally and nationally important.

Photo: Hege Kathryn Paulsen/Hahn B. BRANDSEGEN / PRIVATE

Statecraft believes that pThe loss of curtailment would mean a significant reduction in power generation, thereby reducing income for society.

At a time when we need more renewable energy and it takes a long time to install new power generation, we are surprised that NVE is proposing new conditions that will result in a significant reduction in power generation from Skjomen.

From a political perspective, many argue for better use of existing hydropower. This approach does not contribute to this, says Doc Smedbold, regional director at Statcraft.

According to Statcraft, Skjomen is part of the backbone of the Norwegian electricity supply and is important regionally and nationally.

Power plant A district with large power needs and vulnerable geography plays a significant role in ensuring there is always enough power for residents and industry, Smedbold writes.

The total generation of power plants included in the regulations is 1.3 TWh per year. The present value of production loss is estimated at approximately NOK 268 million.

We are particularly concerned about the proposal for a minimum water flow in winter, which would limit the possibility of regulation of energy production during periods of high demand for electricity. Therefore, we believe that the costs to society outweigh the benefits of this approach of NVE, says Doc Smedbold.

Statkraft will now go through the details of the setup. The Ministry of Oil and Energy (OED) undertakes further processing of the case and the final decision is taken by the King in Council.

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