European countries are increasing the share of renewable energy in their electricity generation, bringing more energy production from wind and solar power into the electricity market. The variable, fluctuating nature of these energy sources creates an increasingly greater challenge for balancing consumption and generation. Hydroelectric power generation systems can store energy as water in large reservoirs and offer flexible operation. It is also possible to store energy for later electricity generation by pumping water from a lower reservoir to a higher one. Norwegian hydroelectric reservoirs have considerable storage capacity, and there is significant interest in Norway's ability to balance demand and generation over various time scales on the European power market.
The HydroBalance Project addresses some key challenges for the development of large scale energy balancing and storage from Norwegian hydro.