Norway may soon introduce a rule to reduce its vast electricity exports if levels at reservoirs for hydropower generation drop to critically low levels in a bid to prevent power shortages and further rises in energy bills domestically.
Norway’s Energy Minister Terje Aasland told Norwegian media, as quoted by Bloomberg, that the government could introduce limits on electricity exports if the water in reservoirs drops to “very low” levels.
A cut in Norwegian power exports would be felt in Northwest Europe, which itself is grappling with issues at coal and nuclear power generating plants due to the low water level in rivers limiting coal supply via barges and warm river water unsuitable for cooling nuclear reactors.
As a result of these issues and the uncertainty over natural gas supply from Russia, power prices in Germany for the year ahead jumped to a record on Friday.
This summer’s dry weather across Europe has affected Norwegian hydropower, which accounts for 90% of Norwegian power generation. The remaining around 10% of the electricity supply in Norway comes from wind power.
While Europe scrambles to procure natural gas for winter power generation and heating, Western Europe’s biggest oil and gas producer, Norway, has a whole different power problem this summer—dry weather, which depletes water reservoirs for hydropower.
Although Norway doesn’t use gas for power generation, Europe’s gas and energy crisis is felt there, too. In recent weeks, hydropower producers have been discouraged from tapping more water for hydropower generation to save water for the winter. Operators were also asked not to export too much electricity to the rest of Europe as reservoirs are not as full as in previous years, and not to rely on imports from Europe, which is struggling with energy supply. Some Norwegian utilities, including top electricity producer Statkraft, have followed the plea from transmission system operator Statnet not to produce too much electricity now.