Hydropower can be the key to realizing a stable renewable energy system. Both the US and Norway have a lot of hydropower resources and need to figure out how they can become more flexible, smarter and more environmentally friendly.
At the Hydropower Summit 2020 this week the Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy and the United States Department of Energy signed an MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) to strengthen and formalize and strengthen the research collaboration on hydropower.
— We are delighted to participate in this broadening of the energy collaboration between the Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy and the United States Department of Energy, said Conner Prochaska, Chief Commercialization Officer, U.S. Department of Energy.
— It is exciting to see the amazing research that is happening here in Norway when it comes to hydropower and how committed the government and researchers are to going to the next step of hydropower research to get to a cleaner world, said Prochaska.
Increased security in the renewable energy system
The world needs more clean energy, and we have to pull together to solve the challenges we have today. Hydropower as a research topic has now been revitalized, due to its capacity to store energy.
With the increasing availability of solar- and wind power, the energy system needs a flexible stabilizer that can deliver energy when the wind isn’t blowing or the sun doesn’t shine. Today, that function is handled by thermal energy sources many places, but hydropower has the potential to be a sustainable and secure alternative.
—Through shared research, our partnership will produce new knowledge that will support the development and deployment of new, advanced hydropower resources, said Prochaska.
State secretary Odd Emil Ingebrigtsen signed the MoU on behalf of the Norwegian Government and addressed the need for new technology and better environmental solutions.
—Hydropower is the backbone of the Norwegian energy system, but it can still be improved. Efficiency is one thing, environment is another, and I am glad to see that those are both on the agenda today.
—We look forward to more cooperation with our American friends, Ingebrigtsen said.
Extraordinary that the US contracted HydroCen
FME HydroCen is a research centre for hydropower research, financed by the Norwegian Research Council, the Norwegian hydropower industry and the three main research partners NTNU, SINTEF and NINA. The FME centre hosted and facilitated the Summit where more than 100 high-level officials, leaders, and researchers participated. Many continued on the two following days, discussing specific research projects.
— We have a lot of “bottom-up”- cooperation because researchers know each other, and we are very happy about that. But we also want state-to-state cooperation on a structural level, said Rune Volla, director at the Norwegian Research Council.
— It is really amazing that the US contacted FME HydroCen, because so many want to cooperate with the US on a high-level like this because energy research has such strategic importance, he said.
Will cooperate on several specific issues
In three separate workshops, researchers from NTNU, SINTEF, NINA, Oak Ridge National Laboratory (USA), Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (USA), Argonne National Laboratory (USA), National Renewable Energy Laboratory (USA), University of Innsbruck (Austria), Luleå University of Technology (Sweden), University of Padua (Italy) and Vattenkraft RD as well as representatives from power companies, water management, and global development organizations sat together and discussed specific issues and projects. They will now make reports summing up the different initiatives.
- Read more about HydroCen’s research activities
- Check out these HydroCen-talks on YouTube:
- Experimental Hydraulics-With a dam safety perspective
- AlternaFuture: Extreme reconstruction of hydropower
- Make power, not sushi. Safe downstream fish migration (Norwegian)
- How many fish are there in the river? Genetic mark-recapture