Friday, June 1, 2018

Statkraft to Bergen

This morning we said our goodbyes to Oslo as we rode the train to Statkraft, a leader in the renewable energy market both in Norway and globally.
This morning we said our goodbyes to Oslo as we rode the train to Statkraft, a leader in the renewable energy market both in Norway and globally.

 Pre-lecture from Paul

The energy they produce in the Nordics (Norway and Sweden) is 99 percent renewable energy, a majority of it being hydropower. At Statkraft, we were given informative lectures on different aspects of the company.

Excited to be at Statkraft! 

Anne Marie Seterlund in research and development spoke on some of the current issues they were facing, such as sediment-handling strategies in hydropower and ice buildup on the blades of wind turbines.

Next we heard from Geir Fuglseth about Statkraft's wind power project in Norway, the largest in Europe. The size of the project is awe-inspiring, with 278 3.6-megawatt wind turbines to be installed across Norway. We learned how complicated a project of this caliber was. The first part of the project involves building roads to remote and rugged areas of Norway, mainly on the tops of the mountains surrounding the fjords, where the wind speed is ideal and the area is unpopulated. Then the construction of the turbines begins by constructing a stable base in the rock, transporting all the large pieces (tower, nacelle, blades) up the mountains, and assembling the turbine itself.

Though my quick summary may make this whole process sound simple, I can assure you it is not. Signs on the routes of the turbine transport have to be able to bend over to accommodate the oversized loads. Blades cannot be installed in windy conditions or they will blow away. Communities are informed of the transports via text message so they can avoid driving that route during that time. All of this work will be worth it, as these turbines will produce enough electricity to power 170,000 Norwegian homes. This project uses Vestas turbines, a company we were lucky enough to visit while in Denmark!

We then heard from Aslak Maeland, who provided us with insight on how the energy financial market works. Hydropower depends on water levels, and throughout the year those levels fluctuate depending on the season, weather, and many more factors. Statkraft works with meteorologists and hydrologists to predict water levels, and from there market prices for energy can be determined.

Aslak Maeland helping us understand 

Lastly, we listened to Marius Holm from the ZERO foundation, a group working towards zero CO2 emissions. He spoke on how the energy market was progressing and how incentives and subsidies are a great way to create a market for renewable energy technology.

After a morning of thought invoking talks, we took a train to the Oslo airport where our plane was waiting to take us to Bergen. Upon arrival in Bergen, we checked into our hostel and enjoyed dinner overlooking the harbor.

Enjoying our hostel's terrace 

Beautiful sunset in Bergen

-Tasha S.