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Environmental design of hydropower systems

Environmental design of hydropower systems

The environmental design of hydropower systems involves taking natural environment into account during power generation operations. The requirements of natural environment and the generation of electrical power are compatible provided we use the correct methods in planning, implementation and follow-up.

Hydropower generation has been of major importance to Norwegian industry and the development of Norwegian prosperity. From the introduction of hydropower until the present day there has been a significant development in analyses of the impacts of hydropower construction. For several decades SINTEF has played its part in this development through research and by constantly looking for answers to new challenges in connection with hydropower construction and infrastructure upgrades. SINTEF is also looking into linking hydropower generation to other renewable energy sources such as solar power and wind power, among other things by using power balancing at both Norwegian and international level.

We are currently working in the following fields:

  • Water system hydrology (locally adapted)
  • General hydrology (for all types of renewable energy generation)
  • Modelling of water systems (rivers and reservoirs)
  • Optimisation of hydropower generation
  • Water temperatures in reservoirs and rivers
  • Physical processes in reservoirs
  • Balance power and local impacts
  • Peak generation and stranding of fish

We typically carry out the following types of project:

  • Major short-term and long-term research projects looking into the environmental aspects of hydropower generation.
  • Smaller contract projects related to locally adapted environmental design configurations
  • International projects related to environmentally sustainable water flow in challenging climatic zones
  • Reservoir simulations for, among other things, water temperature analyses downstream of hydropower infrastructure
  • Alternative solutions for sustainable hydropower generation using prognoses for both hydrology and the power market
  • Climate-adapted environmental measures in regulated water systems both in Norway and overseas

Why choose SINTEF?
Since 2007, SINTEF has led the CEDREN research centre in close co-operation with partners NINA and NTNU and with contributions from large parts of the Norwegian power supply industry. The centre works with a wide range of research topics in the field of the environmental design of renewable energy infrastructure.

Who are our clients?

  • The Norwegian hydropower industry
  • The international hydropower industry
  • The public sector water system management authorities
  • Energy supply management
  • EU
Research Scientist