Statkraft: managing hydropower production using satellite information

The organisation

Statkraft, Norway’s state-owned electricity company is Europe’s largest generator of renewable energy and is the leading power company nationally. The company owns, produces and develops hydropower, wind power, gas power and district heating. Renewable energy production makes up to 91% of its total annual power production of 60 TWh.

The challenge

The availability and quantity of water supplies for hydropower production is crucial to support the production and trading of electricity. Most of Statkraft’s reservoirs in Norway are located in high mountains, which are covered in snow half of the year. 50% of the water used for hydropower production comes from snow.

Statkraft needs to have reliable information on snow coverage, melting and water-equivalent so as to manage water resources and production planning, but also environmental risks affecting water reservoirs (e.g. land motion and erosion).

“Member States shall take appropriate steps to encourage greater consumption of electricity produced from renewable energy sources (…). These steps must be in proportion to the objective to be attained”.Directive on the promotion of electricity from renewable energy sources in the internal elestricity market 2001/77/EC

The satellite solution

Statkraft receives daily satellite information on snow cover and water run-off estimations from PolarView, an international consortium of public and private organisations producing ice-related data. This information, combined with data from other sources, allows Statkraft to better quantify and forecast how much water could be available in the reservoir, or any dangers of overflows, floods or land displacement.

The result

Statkraft can schedule hydropower plant production and supply according to water availability estimations. It can forecast energy prices three years in advance, which gives it a significant competitive advantage.

While detailed reservoir water availability is a commercial information, Statkraft does share this information with National Water Authorities on reservoirs at risk of overflowing, in order to provide flood early warnings and take appropriate mitigation measures.

“Statkraft’s innovation strategy means we are using innovative technology analyses in hydro power, wind power and bio energy to gain a competitive advantage for today and the future.” Tom Andersen, Statkraft