Norway to add new wind, hydropower capacity in next few months

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Workers on Nexans Skagerrak vessel lay a NordLink subsea interconnector power cable to connect Norway and Germany at the Vollesfjord fjord near Flekkefjord, Norway May 31, 2018. REUTERS/Lefteris Karagiannopoulos

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OSLO, Nov 2 (Reuters) - Norway aims to have an additional 4.1 TWh of wind and hydropower capacity operational before the end of this year although some projects could be delayed until 2022, the country's energy regulator NVE said on Tuesday.

The country currently has 5.5 terawatt hours (TWh) of wind and hydropower capacity under construction in total, with the rest due to be completed by 2025, NVE said.

Onshore wind power will account for 3.7 TWh of the total capacity under construction, and 1.7 TWh will be hydropower plants, the regulator said in its third-quarter update.

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Norway has seen a boom in onshore wind power development in recent years, with 6.1 TWh of new capacity coming online in 2020.

However, 2021 is widely expected to be the last year of large additions as the rapid expansion has caused a backlash among locals and new permitting is currently put on ice.

In the third quarter of this year Norway produced 32.7 TWh of power in total, predominantly wind and hydropower, down 6% from a year earlier, which saw record high output, NVE said in a separate report.

Domestic consumption totalled 27.5 TWh in the third quarter, virtually unchanged from a year earlier, NVE said.

Norway also exports power and in late September Nordic power exchange Nord Pool held its first auction to trade electricity on a newly launched interconnector between Norway and Britain as both markets grappled with tight energy supplies.

Linking Norway's southern NO2 price zone with the British power market will give Britain access to Norway's hydropower resources to help balance intermittent wind power, while Norway will be able to import power during times of high wind to save water in reservoirs, supporters of the plan say. Some Norwegian lawmakers, however, say the scheme will lead to exports of electricity that could best be used at home. read more

RESERVOIRS LOW

Norway added 0.4 TWh of power capacity in the July-September quarter, NVE said, 0.3 TWh of which was wind power, bringing the running total for 2021 to 1.1 TWh of new power generation.

Installed wind power capacity in the country stood at 4.2 gigawatt (GW) at the end of the third quarter, equating to an average output of 14 TWh, NVE data showed.

In October, Norway's supreme court stripped the Storheia and Roan wind farms in the Fosen region (544 MW combined) off their licences, arguing they violated Sami reindeer herders' rights, although they remain in operation for the time being. read more

Installed hydropower capacity in Norway last stood at 33.2 GW, equating to median annual production of around 137 TWh, NVE said.

In September, water reservoir filling levels in the country stood at 68.4% at the end of the quarter, their lowest levels since 2006 due to a dry year, NVE added.

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Reporting by Nora Buli; Editing by Susan Fenton

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