The GREBE Project meets with renewable energy companies in Norway

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As part of the GREBE Project meeting in June, the Norwegian partner, Narvik Science Park, organised visits to hydropower installations and wind parks, as well as meetings with companies operating in the renewable energy sector in Norway.

The first meeting was held with Dag Smedbold of Statkraft (https://www.statkraft.com/).  Statkraft is a leading company in hydropower internationally and Europe’s largest generator of renewable energy. The Group produces hydropower, wind power, gas-fired power and district heating and is a global player in energy market operations. Statkraft has 3800 employees in more than 20 countries.   Dag outlined their development and the leading role they play in renewable energy in Norway and in Europe, particulary in the hydro sector.

Following our meeting with Statkraft, we met with Matthew Homola of Nordkraft (http://www.nordkraft.no/).  Nordkraft is an energy group focusing on the development, development, production and distribution of all natural renewable energy. The group also has interests in power sales and other energy-related businesses.  The renewable energy production comes from magazine power plants, small hydro and wind power. The distribution network covers Narvik Municipality, as well as wall in Evenes Municipality.

The group’s history dates back to 1913, when the first power plant was put into operation in Håkvik valley in Narvik municipality. It has mainly been public or publicly-owned owners all the time, except for some years in the 2000s when Danish E2 / Dong Energy were owners. As a result of this came the wind power initiative.

Matthew brought us Nygårdsfjellet wind farm, which was acquired by Fortum  along with two other wind power projects in late 2016.  Nordkraft continue to manage and operate this project. This wind farm consists of 14 turbines with a total capacity of 32,2MW.  Windmills have an installed capacity of 2,3MW each. The entry of Nygårdsfjellet wind farm was done in two stages. The first 3 turbines were put into operation in 2006 and the last 11 in 2011. Average annual production is 105GWh, corresponding to normal consumption of about 5200 Norwegian households.

Our last visit was to Nordkrafts first power plant in Håkvik valley.  Fred Johansen of Narvik Science Park outlined the history of the development of this hydropower plant and the development of renewable energy in northern Norway.

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Hydrogen – a solution to the RES integration challenge?

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Hydrogen Plant – Energy from RES could be stored as hydrogen and delivered back to the power station on demand

 

In some scenarios up to 50% of the electricity demand in the EU by 2030, will be covered by energy from Renewable Energy Sources (RES).  The energy production from RES is energy production from variable energy sources, whose production is subject to both seasonal as well as hourly weather variability. This is a situation that the power system has not coped with before. System flexibility is needed, and will increasingly be driven by supply variability – or all the energy from RES could be used to produce Hydrogen, without any need of transmission and distribution through the power system.

The traditional thinking is that new systems and tools are required to ensure that the renewable energy is integrated into the power system effectively. One of the options for providing the required flexibility to the power system, is energy storage through use of battery technologies.  An another way of thinking is to use RES to produce hydrogen, and make hydrogen supply a stable energy source for delivery to the power system – the transmission of a variable energy source (RES) into a stable energy source (hydrogen).

Business opportunities

  1. International agreements – Norway has committed itself both through international agreements and national objectives to reduce the national emissions drastically in the years ahead, agreed upon according to the Kyoto protocol.
  2. RES – Norway has more than enough renewable power resources to produce the needed amount of hydrogen – both to be self-sufficient and to export to EU.
  3. Technology – Hydrogen is a highly interdisciplinary technology area which both demands knowledge about process technology and power production; fields in which Norwegian universities, research institutions and industry – maintain a high competance level.
  4. Transport sector – Norway’s near-term emission reduction will be made in the transport sector. The transport sector points itself out as the most attractive choice for drastic emission reductions, base on the fact that Norway already is well on its way in this area, boasting the worlds best incentives for zero emission vehicles (electric vehicles). Now Norway has the opportunity to add hydrogen to the transportation fuel portfolio.

Export of sustainable energy

Norway will far into the future continue to have vast resources of renewable energy, and Norway has without comparison the largest hydro power resources in Europe, the best conditions for both on-and offshore wind, and a lot of possibilities to produce renewable energy from other sources.

The downturn of oil thus represents a unique chance for Norway to utilize its brain power and high competence within energy technology, not only to ensure future income from the export of energy – but also make the country fit for the future by exporting sustainable energy to the world markets.

After years of fossil fuel exports, many would argue that Norway has a special responsibility to do so as well.

Could hydrogen production and storage be Norway’s next oil?