Norway, on the west coast of Europe, has a total area of 324,220km2 with a population of 4.6M (July 2005 estimation, CIA Facts). Total electricity consumption has decreased from 120,925GWh in 2002 to 115,157GWh in 2003. According to IEA energy Statistics, total production during 2002 was 130,604GWh, which included 257GWh from coal, 16GWh from oil, 198GWh from gas, 213GWh from biomass, 154GWh from waste, 39GWh from other sources and 129,727GWh from hydro.

Norway possesses western Europe’s largest hydro resources, both in terms of its current installed capacity and of its economically feasible potential. The Ministry of Industry and Energy is the national energy and power authority, and there are about 25 regional power authorities in total. According to estimates made in December 2000, when Norway’s hydro power potential was re-evaluated, it has a gross theoretical hydro power potential of 560TWh/yr, a technically feasible potential of 200TWh/yr and an economically feasible potential of 187TWh/yr.

In 2003, Norway imported 13,471GWh of electricity from Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Russia and 5,587GWh was exported to those same countries. About 63% of the technically feasible potential has been developed so far, adding up to a total installed capacity of 27,689MW. There are 323 hydro plants in Norway with a capacity greater than 10MW. The country’s total hydro generation in 2003 was 106,100GWh i.e. 99.3% of national electricity production.

Two major hydro plants currently under construction are Nyit Tyin (168MW, 230GWh/yr) and Ovre Otta (171MW, 525GWh/year). Licenses have also been granted for the development of a further 859MW of hydro capacity (consisting mainly of small hydro projects). As well as this, upgrading projects are taking place for some of the country’s oldest hydro power plants.

Educational programmes

• The Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) offers a full range of courses and research leading to a Master of Science or PhD in Hydro Power Planning and Design for Norwegian students. Since 1993, the university has also offered an international Master of Science programme in Hydro Power Development. This master’s course is replacing the 10-month diploma that was taught since 1976.

• Since 1997 the International Centre for Hydropower (ICH) in Norway has offered three-week intensive courses on hydro power topics: Hydro Power Resources Development and Management and Hydro Power and the Environment. The target group for these courses is hydro power professionals who hold at least a Bachelor of Science degree in Hydro Power Engineering or have an equivalent background in the fundamental engineering aspects of hydro power systems, and a minimum of 10 years of working experience.

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