Norway is Europe’s largest producer of electricity from hydropower. For some years now, Norway has also been one of the most important electricity exporters for the European interconnected grid. Due to the ongoing drought, electricity production from hydropower has now plummeted. As a result, electricity prices are also exploding in the land of the fjords.
The Norwegian government now wants to feed less electricity into the European interconnected grid (ORF: 09.08.22).
After the French nuclear power plants are already running throttled and the coal supply of German coal-fired power plants is limited due to low river levels, the European power supply is becoming increasingly critical.
Water supplies in the reservoirs shrunk by half
Norway, like most European countries, has been struggling with a severe drought for months. In most regions, water supplies have shrunk by almost half. Especially in the south of the country, where the water reservoirs for energy production are located, it has not rained for a long time. That’s why the reservoirs are only 45 percent full. Normally, the average filling level in summer is around 75 percent.
Due to the water shortage, Norwegian hydropower plants currently produce a good 18 percent less electricity than in previous years. In the southwest, electricity production has even fallen to an all-time low. Of all places, this is also where the export connections to the European mainland are located. Due to the reduced electricity production, electricity prices are now also exploding in Norway. That is why the government wants to feed less electricity into the European interconnected grid with immediate effect.
Electricity prices in Norway are exploding
In order to counteract a further price explosion, the Norwegian government has now decided to prioritize the electricity supply in its own country. Commenting on the decision, Oil and Energy Minister Terje Aasland said: “The government will ensure that we take precautions that prioritise the filling of our hydropower reservoirs and security of supply with electricity, and limit exports when the water level in the reservoirs drops to very low levels. The government considers the situation to be serious.” Aasland did not rule out the possibility that Norway would have to ration electricity in the spring.
First voices will stop electricity exports altogether, according to
In recent years, Norway has become one of the most important electricity exporters for Europe. Norway has already fed more than 20 percent of its own electricity production into the European interconnected grid. The largest customers were Denmark, Sweden, Great Britain and Germany. Exports to Germany in particular have recently risen sharply via the new Nordlink submarine cable. Due to the sharp rise in electricity prices, exports in the country are now highly controversial and the first voices are being raised to completely stop exporting electricity to Europe. However, as a member of the European electricity market, Norway is bound by the bilateral agreements, although the country itself is not an EU member.