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The share of variable renewable electricity generation in Europe is increasing, and by 2050 the whole European electricity grid will be renewable. Norwegian hydropower has a large storage capacity in existing reservoirs that can be used for large-scale balancing and energy storage integrated with continental Europe and the UK.

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This project will investigate if Norwegian hydropower can play a major role in climate change mitigation.

The HydroConnect project will investigate this role by analysing the impacts on CO2-emissions in Europe, electricity prices in Norway and Europe, as well as the environmental impacts in Norwegian reservoirs and rivers based on different scenarios for development of the power system and interconnectors in 2030 and 2050.

Improved knowledge on how hydropower can be used to balance variable renewable energy sources (VRE) are needed. Based on the results from the HydroBalance project and power system scenarios from openENTRANCE, HydroConnect will evaluate the effects of the Norwegian hydropower system providing balancing services to the European power system at short (2030) and long (2050) time horizons with different scenarios of power system development.

The project will analyse the effects of using Norwegian hydropower for large-scale balancing for continental Europe and the UK, answering important research questions:

  1. How can Norwegian hydropower contribute to the decarbonisation of the European power system?
  2. What are the consequences on the Norwegian power system of delivering balancing services to Europe?
  3. What are the implications of participating in several markets on operations and income of hydropower plants?
  4. What will be the impacts of future hydropower operations on environmental conditions in reservoirs?

An important novelty of HydroConnect is the interdisciplinary approach, allowing for consistent analyses of weather, load, generation, operation of hydropower plants and reservoirs, hydrodynamic processes and environmental conditions in reservoirs. Through linking several models, the analyses will stretch from a European level down to specific catchments and single reservoirs in the hydro system. The project will provide novel insights to economic and environmental impacts of hydropower operations in Norwegian reservoirs by using state-of-the-art models in scenario analyses of economic consequences, CO2-emissions and for environmental impacts in reservoirs.

The project will use modern simulation models to analyse the energy system, energy markets and operation of hydropower plants and infrastructure in a consistent way. The results will be disseminated within the hydropower industry, to authorities and the wider public.

The research partners in the project are:

The project is funded by:

This is a Knowledge-building Project for Industry partly funded by the Research Council of Norway.


Key Factors

Project duration

2021 - 2024

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