According to the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy (2007), Norway has the world’s largest per capita hydropower production, is the sixth largest hydropower producer in the world, and is the largest hydropower producer in Europe. At the same time, Norway has been a major producer of hydroelectricity for more than a century. The country possesses natural resources and a geography that enables to build environment-friendly hydroelectric plants. In fact, close to 50 % of the European reservoir capacity is located in Norway (Gonzalez et al. 2011).
According to the Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy (2008), the available potential in the country is about 205 TWh, out of which around 45.5 TWh is located in protected areas; 121.8 TWh has already been developed, leading to a remaining potential for development of 37.7 TWh. New projects now under construction will generate additional 1.3 TWh to the total electricity generated by the country using hydropower plants. In addition, licenses were granted for construction as well as refurbishment and upgrade hydropower plants, which correspond to an increased generating capacity of about 1.8 TWh.
Hydropower Installed Capacity
Today, Norway’s installed hydropower capacity amounts to 30,000 MW and annual hydropower production averages 125 TWh. Hydropower currently represents 96 % of the Norwegian electricity production,21 compared to 11 % in the EU (Gonzalez et al. 2011). The country has 857 hydropower plants to produce electric (Andersen 2006).
Hydropower Electricity Generation
The evolution of the generation of electricity using hydropower plants in Norway during the period 2008–2012 is shown in Fig. 3.27.
According to Fig. 3.27, the generation of electricity using hydropower plants in Norway during the period 2008–2012 increased 2 %. However, during the period 2008–2010, the generation of electricity using hydropower plants decreased 16.1 %, but after that year, it increased 21.4 %. It is expected that the generation of electricity using hydropower plants in Norway will continue to increase during the coming years.