Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Europe puts Norway’s power system to the test

Date:
October 28, 2010
Source:
The Research Council of Norway
Summary:
On days with little wind, Europe may have to rely on Norwegian reservoirs to keep its wheels running smoothly in the future. On the Continent, the concept of Norway as Europe’s green battery has caught on – but is it feasible in practice?

Tinnelva hydropower plant.
Credit: Εnund Killingtveit

On days with little wind, Europe may have to rely on Norwegian reservoirs to keep its wheels running smoothly in the future. On the Continent, the concept of Norway as Europe's green battery has caught on -- but is it feasible in practice?

The Centre for Environmental Design of Renewable Energy (CEDREN) -- one of Norway's Centres for Environment-friendly Energy Research -- is carrying out the HydroPEAK project to study whether Norway could truly provide Europe's balance power.

When electricity production is based on intermittent sources such as the sun and wind, the power delivered to the grid will vary greatly from hour to hour and from day to night. Consumers, however, expect a constant supply of electricity on the grid, whether during periods of peak demand in the morning and afternoon or periods of low demand at night.

Flexible hydropower

The imbalance between the supply of power and consumer demand is becoming more and more of a problem for energy companies and grid operators, as fossil fuel-based power plants are gradually being replaced by wind farms. Norway's main energy source, hydropower, is unique in that production can easily be adjusted by releasing more or less water through the turbines.

Since Norway has Europe's largest hydropower resources, the Continent's energy companies and grid operators are keenly interested in gaining access to Norwegian reservoirs. The question is, will Norway be able to help Europe with its balance power needs?

Demand exceeds supply

A recent study by the German Advisory Council on the Environment reports that Germany's target to produce all of its electricity from renewable sources by 2050 hinges upon access to a whopping 60 000 MW of balance power.

The study identifies Norway as the only country that could supply such a volume. This amount, however, is several times greater than Norway's potential as estimated by the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate (NVE). According to NVE, Norway's potential for balance power production in 2030 will total some 20 000 MW. By way of comparison, Norway's total installed capacity is currently 29 000 MW.

Rapid changes in the power system

The greatest challenge, however, is not the scale of Europe's balance power needs, but rather the rapid changes that are putting Norway's entire power system under pressure, from changes in the reservoirs' biological environments to voltage fluctuations in the grid.

Reservoir levels can vary by as much as 10 metres in a single day, and voltage fluctuations in the grid can overload consumers' electrical devices. This is where Norwegian researchers enter the picture.

Numerous challenges

The HydroPEAK project addresses eight areas of research:

  • scenarios for Europe's balance power needs
  • hydrological effects
  • models for the power system
  • pumped-storage hydroelectric stations
  • frequency variations in the grid
  • physical effects on hydro tunnels
  • physical effects on rivers
  • impacts on river ice

The first area listed above provides a basis for all of the HydroPEAK sub-projects. Researchers are drawing up scenarios for how the Norwegian energy sector could satisfy the balance power demands of a European power system that will be increasingly based on renewable energy.

"The scenarios determine how much balance power will be needed, so that the other research areas can be scaled according to the most likely scenarios," explains Professor Killingtveit.

Changes in Norwegian watercourses

Norway has in-depth expertise in the environmentally-responsible operation of hydropower plants. So far, changes have mostly occurred gradually over long periods of time. However, the power system of tomorrow will have to absorb rapid change, which may lead to some unpleasant surprises.

One consequence will be more difficulty in delivering electricity with stable voltage and frequency. Also, hydro tunnels for transporting water from the reservoir to the turbines may be exposed to a higher risk of rockslides and landslides due to greater variation in water pressure in the rock.

"Using the Norwegian power system for balance power will lead to changes in Norway's watercourses. How much are we willing to tolerate?" ask the professor and his colleagues.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by The Research Council of Norway. The original article was written by Claude R. Olsen. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

The Research Council of Norway. "Europe puts Norway’s power system to the test." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 October 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101028074039.htm>.
The Research Council of Norway. (2010, October 28). Europe puts Norway’s power system to the test. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101028074039.htm
The Research Council of Norway. "Europe puts Norway’s power system to the test." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101028074039.htm (accessed August 21, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Flower Power! Dandelions Make Car Tires?

Flower Power! Dandelions Make Car Tires?

Reuters - Business Video Online (Aug. 20, 2014) — Forget rolling on rubber, could car drivers soon be traveling on tires made from dandelions? Teams of scientists are racing to breed a type of the yellow flower whose taproot has a milky fluid with tire-grade rubber particles in it. As Joanna Partridge reports, global tire makers are investing millions in research into a new tire source. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Awesome New Camouflage Sheet Was Inspired By Octopus Skin

Awesome New Camouflage Sheet Was Inspired By Octopus Skin

Newsy (Aug. 19, 2014) — Scientists have developed a new device that mimics the way octopuses blend in with their surroundings to hide from dangerous predators. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

AP (Aug. 19, 2014) — Four Texas high school football programs are trying out an experimental system designed to diagnose concussions on the field. The technology is in response to growing concern over head trauma in America's most watched sport. (Aug. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Green Power Blooms as Japan Unveils 'hydrangea Solar Cell'

Green Power Blooms as Japan Unveils 'hydrangea Solar Cell'

AFP (Aug. 19, 2014) — A solar cell that resembles a flower is offering a new take on green energy in Japan, where one scientist is searching for renewables that look good. Duration: 01:29 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins