Environmental design for flexible hydropower


This project will expand the concept of «environmental design in regulated salmon rivers» to new species and other ecosystem components in accordance with national priorities for nature values. In addition, the concept will also be further developed to include user interests like leisure activities, sport fishing, kayaking and services like different energy services and flood protection.

Development of environmental design concepts (diagnostic tools, potential increased power production, water use and habitat measures) for the whole range of river types, biological communities, services and user interests is a challenging task. In project 4.3 we will thus focus on the most important river typologies, which will serve as model systems. In each river type, a specific methodology for environmental design will be developed. Many of these methods will be similar among river types, but some will also vary.

Representative case study rivers will be selected among different river types for testing and further studies, forming the basis for further development of the environmental design concept.

We will explore the opportunities of obtaining data by using innovative and novel methods in remote sensing with satellites, airplanes and drones carrying red and green lidar, optical sensors and other instruments. However, characterization of biodiversity and multiple user interests is more challenging, and would require an active inter-disciplinary collaboration. Characterization of biodiversity and key species will be achieved by analyzing eDNA, which allows quantification of biodiversity on basis of extraction of DNA from water samples. eDNA analysis allow identification of species independently of actual spatial distribution because DNA is aggregated and transported through river flow. Both general diversity (identifying e.g. diversity hotspots) and presence and relative abundance of key species will be identified. Moreover, the method allows for identification of invasive species.

In 2017, the activity focused on identifying key species and the development of representative genetic markers. User interests like leisure activities, sport fishing, kayaking and services like different energy services and flood protection will be analyzed by more traditional methods such as focus groups, interviews, stakeholder workshops and dialogue. However, new methods to integrate spatial and temporal factors as well as identification of river reaches and periods of the year of particular value, will be developed. In river systems with a high level of conflicts, new tools such as ConSite may be developed further for use in rivers.

The next steps (2018 and onwards) involves using the case study river systems to further develop methodology (mapping and analysis of biodiversity, services and user interests) and indicators for physical and biological conditions, and also methods for handling of multiple interests, before finally developing environmental design diagnosis and solutions involving habitat measures, environmental flows and energy and societal services. Methods to handle flexible environmental and downstream flow releases, varying constraints depending on initial conditions like hydrological and energy market situation, will be developed and included in production planning modelling.

HydroCen Report nr. 2

Utvidet miljødesign: Ulike metoder for kunnskapsutvikling om rekreasjonsinteresser og landskapsopplevelse i og langs regulerte elver og vassdrag. Margrete Skår og Berit Köhler. Denne rapporten har som hovedformål å danne grunnlag for utprøving av aktuelle metoder i vårt framtidige arbeid i HydroCen 4.3, for kunnskapsutvikling om feltet rekreasjonsinteresser og landskapsopplevelse.



HydroCen Report nr. 9

Rekreasjonsinteresser i utvidet miljødesign: demovassdrag Nea. Margrete Skår og Berit Köhler. Denne rapporten gjør rede for rekreasjonsinteresser knyttet til det valgte demovassdraget, Nea i Selbu og Tydal kommune.





Conference Proceedings 2019

Atle Harby. Fleip, ren synsing eller fakta om vannkraft? - Henger kabler, høye priser og økt effektkjøring sammen? - Slipper vannkraftmagasin ut klimagasser? PTK. Energi Norge

Håkon Sundt. HydroCen og fjernmålingsprosjektet. Terratec.

Sundt, H. and Alfredsen, K. Comparing remote sensing data –assessing vertical accuracy in four different terrain models in a hydropower regulated river. 12th International Symposium on Ecohydraulics.

Publications 2018

Zinke, Peggy; Lindholm, Markus; Dervo, Børre; Gosselin, Marie-Pierre; Harby, Atle; Kile, Maia R; Kling, Johan; Sundt, Håkon. Kartlegging av hydromorfologi i norske elver - erfaringer med ulike metoder i Surna og GudbrandsdalslågenVann. 2018, 53 (2), 168-179

Sundt-Hansen, L.E., Hedger, R.D., Ugedal, O., Diserud, O.H., Finstad, A.G., Sauterleute, J.F., Tøfte, L., Alfredsen, K. & Forseth, T. Modelling climate change effects on Atlantic salmon: Implications for mitigation in regulated rivers. Science of the Total Environment, 631-632, 1005-1017.  

Hedger R. D., Sauterleute J., Sundt-Hansen L.E, Forseth T., Ugedal, O., Diserud O., Bakken T. H.. Dynamically modelling the sensitivity of an Atlantic salmon population to hydropeaking-induced stranding mortality.EcoHydrology. 

Conference Proceedings 2018

Harby, Bakken, Hansen, Alfredsen, Sundt, Zinke, Sundt-Hansen, Köhler, Skår. Miljødesign - nå mer enn laks og kraft. EnergiNorge

Master thesis

Bendik Kristoffer Torp Hansen. Flood dampening in hydropower systems


Atle Harby

Senior Research Scientist
Project leader

Phone: 982 30 502

About the project

Full project title:  Environmental design for multiple interests under future flexible hydropower operation

Duration: 2016-2024

Objective: To develop knowledge and innovative solutions for cost-effective mitigation of environmental impacts from hydropower operations.

Researchers working on the project: Berit Köhler, Line Sundt, Torbjørn Forseth, Terje Bongard, Frode Fossøy, Margrete Skår, Knut Alfredsen, Håkon Sundt, Peggy Zinke, Atle Harby, Tor Haakon Bakken, Julie Charmasson, Lennart Schönfelder, Bendik Torp Hansen.

R&D Partners: SINTEF Energy, NINA, NTNU, UNI Research, BOKU Østerike, IRSTEA Frankrike, ISPRA Italia

Associated projects: SusWater (CEDREN), SafePass, FIThydro, HyMo 

PhD working on the project: Håkon Sundt.

Master students associated with the project: Bendik Kristoffer Torp Hansen, Sebastian Haugland Moss, Valerie Beck, Ludivine Julien.