Norway decides to abandon hydropower

The Norwegian Prime Minister has announced that several large hydro projects are to be scrapped and that “the era of large-scale new hydropower development is over”.

Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg made the announcement in his New Year’s address to the nation, a government spokesperson told edie on 10 January. “I know that this is a decision that will provoke controversy. But the benefits of these development projects are not sufficiently great to justify irreversible encroachment on the natural environment,” he said. The Prime Minister

announced that construction of new hydropower stations at Beiarn, Bjøllåga and Melfjord in Nordland county would be halted.

Norway, despite producing almost all of its electricity for domestic use from hydropower, under Stoltenberg’s leadership is now committed to natural gas production. In 2000, the government approved the construction of two gas-fired power stations on the west coast at Kollsnes and Kårstø.

Stoltenberg took power in March last year after the previous Prime Minister lost a parliamentary vote of confidence over his attempt to prevent the construction of the gas-fired plants.

The government spokesman said that the announcement was well received by national environmental groups.

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