Strategic Research Area 2014–2023


Norwegian hydropower centre

The Norwegian Hydropower Center aim to secure and develop the education and research within hydropower technology. The center cooperates with universities, research centers, the Norwegian hydropower business and public authorities. The interdisciplinary cooperation between the hydropower industry and academia will secure; access to specialized competence, relevant technical content and R&D on a high international level.

Climate challenges, increasing energy consumption as well as dependence on a reliable and robust energy supply is increasingly straining the Norwegian hydropower system. This has spawned a need for modification and modernization of our aging hydropower plants, both regarding their construction as well as operational patterns. Flexible power plants that can operate over a wide range of conditions are required.

The main driving force behind this is a shift from the relatively static «generation follows demand» pattern towards a dynamic balance between generation and load with intermittent renewable generation, as well as an absence of constant base load industry. The result is that power plants have to regulate faster, with larger amplitude and more often in order to fulfill generation/load balance in the power system. This has many technical challenges attached to it.

Another challenge facing the industry is to maintain and develop the knowledge and competence within hydropower technology. Due to low construction activity in the last twenty years, this knowledge has not been maintained in the emerging generation of engineers. Now, when these plants need to be refurbished and modernized, the competence is again needed, but may not be readily available.

As a response to these challenges, the Norwegian Hydropower Center was founded in 2014 with the intention of acting as an interdisciplinary competence center towards hydropower technology. The center is divided into three engineering committees; mechanical, electrical and civil engineering, allowing the center to focus on all components within a hydropower system. The center is funded by the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate (NVE) as well as over 24 companies in the private sector.

Among the center's governing strategies, the two most important are research and recruitment. In order to face the coming challenges, advanced research is required in order to both predict future energy scenarios as well as to adapt our system to the expected scenarios. Additionally, transferring the knowledge from this generation to the next by recruitment and close cooperation with the industry will spawn long-term solutions for the emerging energy system.

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