Hydro power’s role in Solar Economy
Hydropower is the most common and proven renewable energy technology and plays an important role in global power generation. In 2011, Fortum generated 21.0 terawatt-hours (TWh) of hydropower contributing to 29% of the company’s total electricity production.
CO2-free and renewable hydropower is one of the key solutions in mitigating climate change and in the saving of scarcenatural resources. Hydropower draws its essential energy from the sun, which drives the continuous hydrological cycle. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), hydropower represents more than 90% of all global renewable energy production and continues to prevail as one of the most viable sources of new generation in the future energy system – Solar Economy.
In the Nordic electricity market, hydropower plays a key role in balancing the production and consumption of electricity. Fortum has a proven track record of efficient and sustainable hydropower production in Sweden and Finland. The company is one of the biggest hydropower producers and has long-term experience in the planning, refurbishing, operation and maintenance of hydropower plants in the Nordic countries.
About one third of Fortum’s annual electricity production is based on hydropower. The share varies every year based on the hydrological situation. Fortum’s hydropower capacity in the Nordic countries is nearly 4,700 MW with 260 fully- or partly-owned hydropower plants in Sweden and Finland. More than 80% of plants are located in central Sweden. The plants with the largest capacity are situated on the Dalälven, Indalsälven, Ljusnan and Vuoksi, Kemijoki and Oulujoki rivers.
Hydropower refurbishments continued in 2011
In 2011, Fortum generated 21.0 TWh of hydropower in the Nordic countries. Also the implemention of the long-term refurbishment programme of existing hydropower capacity continued.
In 2011, hydropower refurbishment projects were completed at the Montta plant in Finland, and at the Edsforsen, Eldforsen, Bergvik and Järpströmmen plants in Sweden.
Climate change adaptation studied within hydropower
In addition to climate change mitigation, Fortum is also taking measures to adapt its operations to climate change. In 2011, a study regarding the impacts of climate change on hydrology in rivers with Fortum’s hydropower in Sweden and Finland was finalised. The study analysed the changes in hydrology on Fortum’s hydropower production and identified measures needed to adapt to hydrological changes.
Hydropower non-compliances down to zero
The licence conditions for Fortum’s hydropower plants and lake regulation define the limits for surface water levels and flow variations in the watercourse. The permits also define obligations to prevent and to compensate for environmental impacts.
Rapidly changing weather conditions or malfunctions in hydropower plants can lead to non-compliances of water regulation licences. In 2011, the number of non-compliances in Fortum’s hydropower plants was zero due to careful operation and improved maintenance.