Dry weather affects Norway’s hydro electricity output
15 June 2018
Norway, Europe’s largest hydropower producer, faces higher energy costs this summer as much of the snow accumulating in its mountains evaporated or melted into the ground during a heat wave, its water resources and energy regulator said. The NVE directorate told Reuters power companies had been relying on a gradual spring melt to replenish dams, but projections showed this was unlikely to happen.
With about 96 percent of Norway’s energy needs covered by electricity from hydropower, the expected lower reservoir levels drove spot power prices to above 45 euros per megawatt hour on average this week, double year-on-year.
From mid-May to early June, temperatures in southern Norway hit records for that time of the year, exceeding 30 degrees Celsius (86 Fahrenheit) and leading many municipalities to ban outdoor barbecuing to prevent fires. This was the driest three-week period ever recorded, with measurements from 1958 until today, an NVE spokesman said.
By June 3, the remaining snow that had yet to melt in mountain regions corresponded to an estimated future power output of 10 Terawatt hours, as opposed to 32 TWh in a normal year.
By June 11, Norway’s reservoirs were 56.8 percent full, still higher than last year’s 54.7 percent, but with much less snow left to melt it was only rain that could significantly increase it.