Hydroelectric power is environmentally friendly and completely free of emissions and waste products. Water is a renewable resource in its eternal cycle through precipitation, reservoir, power plant and evaporation.
This makes hydropower a kind of environmentally friendly perpetual motion machine.
Hydropower is one of the oldest and purest forms of renewable energy we have, and a climate-friendly way to produce energy. This is because hydropower makes it possible to create electricity without fossil fuels such as coal or gas.
Norway - a hydropower nation
Our country is particularly well suited for producing hydropower, because we have a lot of rain, many lakes and of course, many mountains. In fact, almost 40% of Norway's land mass lies over 600 meters above sea level. Altitude is the main factor that determines how much potential energy the water has, and therefore the amount of electricity that can be converted from that energy through a hydropower plant.
The large, u-shaped valleys gouged out by glaciers during the last ice age form natural reservoirs. Heavy rains and low temperatures mean that little water evaporates, and this allows us to store the water in reservoirs that provide us steady access to electricity.
From the reservoirs we can draw water into the hydroelectric plants or conserve it for later energy production, as needed.
Europe's hydropower country
Over half of the capacity of Europe's hydropower reservoirs is located in Norway. Norwegian hydropower can be seen as a kind of rechargeable battery for all of Europe, and we can use our reservoirs to support renewable energy production in neighboring countries.
Hydropower and nature
Although hydroelectric power is environmentally friendly in operation, the actual construction of power plants can result in interventions and changes that may affect the natural environment. Most of the hydropower capacity in Norway is already developed, so our task now is to produce even more power from the existing watercourses in a proper and efficient manner.
Most of our hydropower plants have been built deep in the fjords, to exploit the energy potential of the water as much as possible.