Norway working on plan to limit energy exports

Norway working on plan to limit energy exports
Credit: Belga

Norway's Energy Ministry will this week formulate a plan for possibly limiting the export of electricity, Energy Minister Terje Aasland said in a letter to Norwegian party leaders.

The plan includes regulating how much energy can be exported if the water levels in reservoirs become too low.

Norway, one of Europe’s largest electricity exporters, had previously announced it was considering limiting its exports. Due to the reduced supply of gas from Russia, international demand for electricity from Norwegian hydroelectric power stations is on the increase.

Almost all electricity in Norway is generated by hydropower. Normally the country generates much more than it uses, but, for months now, rising prices and low water levels in reservoirs have spurred calls to limit the energy exported via submarine cables.

According to the Norwegian water and energy regulator, NVE, the chance of having to ration electricity in winter is low and there is currently more water in the reservoirs than had been predicted.

Germany and the United Kingdom depend on electricity from Norway which, although not an EU member, is part of the European energy market. The rules for this stipulate that countries may not limit their energy supply to their neighbours for a longer period of time, except in the event of an emergency.

Energy Minister Aasland and Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store spoke with party leaders on Monday about the situation on the energy market, and the Norwegian cabinet may have to come back from recess to discuss the issue.

According to Aasland, a support measure for consumers and farmers will be extended from September due to the high energy prices. If energy exports are limited, this can also have consequences for the supply of power to the Netherlands, another consumer of Norwegian electricity.

Belgium is not a direct importer of electricity from Norway.

Meanwhile, electricity prices in Germany and France – the reference countries for Europe – reached new records on Monday.

Prices for the commodity have been going through the roof for almost a year in Europe, spurred on by the rising gas prices in particular, but also by the many breakdowns at French nuclear power plants and, recently, the heat that has been increasing demand for cooling.

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