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Insufficient rainfall: Norway wants to cut electricity exports if necessary


Thanks to its hydroelectric power plants, Norway can supply electricity to many neighboring countries – including Germany. But the levels in the dams are dropping.

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Hydroelectric power station Vemork in Norway: The country is struggling with fluctuations in precipitation

Photo: Metodi Popov / IMAGO

If the water levels in the reservoirs remain low, Norway could reduce its electricity exports to Europe.

This emerges from a statement by the Norwegian Minister of Oil and Energy, Terje Aasland, which was reported by the Financial Times.

Norway therefore wants to "priority to filling our hydropower reservoirs and security of supply with electricity and to limit exports if the water level in the reservoirs drops to very low levels," says Aasland.

According to the report, some politicians in Norway have complained that electricity costs for domestic consumers are high, while the state earns large sums from exports.

The suggestion was raised to stop the export of electricity until the energy crisis was over.

But Norway is part of the European single market, even if the country itself is not a member of the EU.

Exports could therefore not simply be stopped.

However, the situation could become a problem for Great Britain, which left the single market as part of Brexit.

An undersea power cable between the UK and Norway went live last year, with potential export capacity equivalent to around 2 to 3 per cent of Britain's expected demand next winter, the Financial Times writes.

According to experts, this could mean higher electricity bills for British customers – but it is “unlikely” that the power supply will collapse.

Since last year, Germany has also been receiving Norwegian electricity via the »Nordlink« submarine cable.

The 623-kilometer cable can supply up to 3.6 million households in Germany with electricity.

Drought causes problems

Norway is not only troubled by the high energy prices, but also by the low water levels - because spring and summer have been unusually dry so far.

Because the country relies almost entirely on hydropower for electricity generation, the energy supply ultimately depends largely on the weather.

Due to climate change and its consequences, the country must continue to adjust to extreme fluctuations in precipitation, according to a statement from the Ministry of Energy.

Therefore, it goes without saying that the country makes the necessary adjustments so that the "hydroelectric power system remains a guarantee of a good power supply for Norwegian households and companies even in troubled times".

A mandatory reporting system is now intended to provide a better overview - and the government wants to develop new guidelines for who is supplied with electricity in the event of a water shortage.

The priority is to fill up the reservoirs when the water level is below the average for the season - electricity exports could then be restricted so that Norway can continue to be supplied with electricity.

"This is work that we will be doing jointly with the Department of Water Resources and Energy," the Energy Minister said in a statement.


Source: spiegel

All business articles on 2022-08-09

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