Norway’s Statkraft to expand 350-MW Svartisen

Norwegian power company Statkraft aims to raise the capacity of its 350-MW Svartisen hydropower plant by adding a 250-MW generator to the existing plant.

“The result will be a near doubling of the plant’s output capacity,” state-owned Statkraft said December 6, adding the expansion could be in operation in 2009.

Svartisen, in the northern county of Nordland, currently produces 2.2 terawatt-hours annually, which is equal to the annual consumption of about 110,000 Norwegian households, Statkraft said.

“The new generator’s power output will be comparable to the annual consumption of around 75,000 households,” it said.

Statkraft said there was potential for higher output at Svartisen because Storglomvatn Reservoir holds water equal to 4.9 TWh. Water flows into the plant from Norway’s second biggest glacial area, whose runoff is collected in the world’s biggest rock-built dam.

“The main problem with Svartisen is that the capacity of the installed generator today is about equal to the inflow of water and so it is run like a run-of-river plant,” Executive Vice President Joergen Kildahl said. “So we are not able to get to the bottom of the reservoir even during a dry year.”

Statkraft gave no figure for the investment cost. Kildahl said 250 million to 350 million kroner (US$40.85 million to US$57.19 million) had been mentioned earlier. But he said that was based on cost information a few years old, and he had no new estimate.

“A lot has happened in the energy market since then,” he added.

A consortium of three regional Finnish utilities, Vantaan Energia, Turku Energia, and Oulun Seudun Sahko, agreed to buy a 26 percent stake in the plant in 2003. The rest is owned by Statkraft, which also operates the plant.

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