* Nordic power surplus to be 20-50 TWh in 2020
* Norway, Sweden to build 10 GW of wind, hydro, biomass
By Nerijus Adomaitis
OSLO, Nov 12 (Reuters) - The Nordic region’s investment in renewable energy will give it a large surplus of power to export by 2020, pushing down regional electricity prices and raising the need for new export links, Norwegian energy firm Statkraft said on Monday.
Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden have linked their power markets into one electricity region, meaning all will see the benefit of Norway and Sweden’s plan to add 26.4 terawatt-hours (TWh) of wind, hydro and biomass generation by 2020.
That would be the equivalent of around 8-10 gigawatt (GW) - or ten standard-sized gas and coal-fired power stations - of new installed wind, hydro and biomass power generation capacity.
According to Steinar Bysveen, executive vice president of Norwegian state-owned Statkraft, consumption over the same period will be flat or even fall thanks to parallel efforts to save energy, leaving the Nordic region with a hefty surplus.
“We will have a surplus in the Nordic countries in a range from 20 TWh to 50 TWh (per year) in 2020,” Bysveen said.
“With that surplus, we will have a huge need for exporting our renewable energy.”
Norway already plans to lay a new 1,400 megawatt (MW) capacity cable to Germany by 2018 and also wants to build the world’s longest subsea power cable of a similar capacity to Britain by 2020. That would largely cover the surplus estimated by Statkraft but the more lines out of Scandinavia it has, the more it will be able to pick and choose where the power is sold.
The UK and Germany would benefit from having access to Norway’s flexible hydro power capacity as it would balance volatile wind and solar power generation.
“There is no doubt in my mind that the volatility in Europe will increase even after 2020... I think, it would be beneficial both for Norway and the European societies to develop even more cables after 2020,” Bysveen said.
“It’s not a question of how many cables are needed, but how many cables we can get on track.”
If one adds Scandinavia’s large existing hydro plants to its new sources of renewable power generation, Statkraft is Europe’s largest producer of green energy as Norway gets about 95 percent of its electricity from hydro generators.
Statkraft said that Nordic power prices would fall as a result of the surplus.
“Prices in Norway and the Nordic countries will definitely go down because we will get a surplus,” Bysveen said.
Some Nordic market participants, however, believe that more interconnections to Europe will lead to higher prices in the Nordic market.
Bysveen disagrees. “My conviction is that the effect (from more interconnections) will be marginal, while the total transformation from fossils to renewables will lead to the Nordic prices to go down.”
The Scandinavian countries, which rely on hydro power for more than 50 percent of their electricity generation, saw a power deficit of 18.7 TWh in 2010 when dry and cold weather depleted water reservoirs, data from the Nordic power exchange Nord Pool Spot showed.
The deficit narrowed to 4 TWh in 2011, when wet weather helped to restore supplies. (Editing by Henning Gloystein and Patrick Graham)