Norway Hosting 83rd Annual ICOLD Meeting

Dam use, upgrades and engineering are some of the focuses of the 25th Congress of the International Commission on Large Dams, which is being held this year in Norway.

By Bjorn Honningsvag

Dam industry professionals from around the world dedicated to the safe construction, operation and maintenance of large dams and civil structures will attend the 83rd Annual Meeting and 25th Congress of the International Commission on Large Dams (ICOLD) in Stavanger, Norway, which takes place for eight days beginning on June 13.

The double-curved concrete arch Breiava Dam built in 1962, is 55 meters high and 200 meters wide. It is located between Forsand and Hjelmeland. Photo by Bjorn Honningsvag

The Norwegian National Committee on Large Dams (NNCOLD) is the 2015 conference host and the organization is working in close cooperation with another local association, the International Centre for Hydropower (ICH).

Similar to ICOLD, ICH is a non-profit organization established in Norway to promote and support the sustainable development of hydro power. Although the era of extensive hydropower development and dam construction in Norway may have ended some 30 years ago, ICH continues to utilize its considerable knowledge-base in the field of dam and hydro expertise.

In using its knowledge, every second year ICH organizes an international hydropower conference.

In 2015, ICH and NNCOLD are joining forces and are collaborating closely in organizing the event, including the two-day symposium Hydropower ’15.

The four themes of this year’s congress are: Innovation and utilization of dams and reservoirs (Question 96); Spillways (Question 97); Embankments and tailings dams (Question 98); and Upgrading and re-engineering of existing dams (Question 99).

The Questions each have subcategories that, in part, include the following topics:

  • Challenges in dam constructions under challenging conditions;
  • Reservoir optimizations and design;
  • Operation and maintenance of electro-mechanical equipment;
  • Innovative hydropower and dam projects in emerging economies;
  • Project financing and contractual aspects;
  • Industry-academia cooperation;
  • Managing risks in hydropower; and
  • Climate change challenges (e.g. environment, social aspects, floods, generation and dam safety).
Vierkvev Dam, in Forsand, is a masonry and concrete arch dam finished in 1947. Photo by Bjorn Honningsvag

The 2015 exhibition

A technical exhibition, presenting achievements in the field of dam construction and management, is scheduled June 15-19 at Hall E in the Stavanger Forum. The ICOLD 83rd Annual Meeting and 25th Congress activities are being held at the Stavanger Forum, about 15 minutes from Stavanger Airport, Sola.

Tours — Pre- and post-conference, technical

ICOLD 2015 features numerous opportunities to take organized tours of areas, by bus, within two to three hours of Stavanger. Both pre- and post-conference tours are each available. Beginning June 11, attendees can experience the beautiful landscape in southwestern Norway by traveling through the Setesdal Valley, which is known for its rich cultural heritage. During the tour, attendees will visit several interesting hydropower dams, among others the impressive Vatnedalen Dam.

The 54MW Dalen 1 hydroelectric plant, commissioned in 2010, is on the Jorpeland River in Strand. Photo by Ingvild Ween

A four-day, three-night “hydropower safari” post-conference tour from June 20-23 includes travel by bus to hydro facilities in more than five different areas of Norway, spending each night at hotel accommodations in tour cities.

The June 16 technical tours include:


This tour will transport attendees to the small town of Jà¸rpeland, 45 minutes outside of Stavanger. The tour provides an opportunity to visit a modern hydropower scheme, including 34 MW Jossang Power Plant that produces 95 GWh annually and one small-scale plant established to provide compensation flow in the main river.

Entrance of the Conference Center Stavanger Forum. Photo by Ole Morten Svendsen

Svartevatn Dam

The main purpose of this tour is a visit to the Svartevatn Dam, a 130-meter-high rockfill dam with a volume of 5 million m3.

Ulla-Fà¸rre – The backbone of Norwegian Hydro

The Ulla-Fà¸rre Hydro scheme was developed between 1975 and 1990 and comprises three major power plants including a pumped-storage facility. The total installed capacity is 2,100 MW, with annual generation of nearly 5 TWh.

The event has additional activities and opportunities. To learn more information on the conference, meeting and tours, log on to  

Bjà¸rn Honningsvag is the organizing committee chairman for ICOLD Norway 2015 and chief executive officer of Lyse Produksjon AS.

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