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A POWERFUL REGION

IT'S THE RAIN AND SNOW THAT KEEP US ALIVE

Nord-Helgeland is a Norwegian hydropower bastion, and all the large watercourses are connected through kilometer-long tunnels through the mountains. As much as 6.5 TWh of renewable energy is literally produced in or around Mo i Rana. The country's second largest lake, Røssvatnet is just one of countless water reservoirs that contribute to creating this climate-friendly and renewable energy. In Mo i Rana, even the drinking water supply and wastewater from the industrial park go through a power station.

Vannkraft, Statkraft, Mo i Rana, Giga Factory

Rana power plant is located deep in Mofjellet, and has an annual production of 2.2 TWh. Photo: Statkraft

Just a few years after the American Thomas Edison patented the electric light bulb, the first electric lamp was lit in Mo i Rana. In 1895, the pyrite mines at Båsmo had acquired a smaller steam-powered power plant for lighting. This technological innovation appealed to the local inhabitants, and already in 1907, the first hydropower plant on Helgeland was put into production in Revelforsen, just outside today's city center. This was the start of a hydropower development that is still ongoing, but the great, almost gigantic era was in the years from 1950 to 1980.

The industry in Mo i Rana and hydropower are closely linked. Almost a hundred years ago, a completely new technology opened up to replace coke with electricity in the production of iron and steel. This became the foundation for the establishment of the Norwegian Ironworks in 1946, and the large lakes and watercourses around Mo i Rana were put under development in parallel with the construction of the smelters.

Vannkraft, Mo i Rana, Statkraft, Statnett

Rana power plant's catchment area is as much as 1275 km², as large as Ringsaker municipality.

Reinforsen, the first major

The industry was early established in Mo i Rana. The mining company Dunderland Iron Ore Company was acquired by German Krupp, and around 1920 the company initiated great interest in expanding the strait Reinforsen in the Ranelva for power production. The power station, which is located at the very upper edge of the map above, was to provide power both for the facilities at the open pits at Storforshei, and for the preparation plant by the fjord in Mo i Rana. The power plant was put into operation in the autumn of 1925. In 1938, the mining company was taken over by English ownership interests, but the war put an end to operation. In 1950, the power plant was taken over by state NVE, today Statkraft, and produces 26.7 GWh annually.

Vannkraft, Mo i Rana, Helgeland

From the development of Reinforsen 1923 - 1925. Photo: Helgeland Museum

Vannkraft, Mo i Rana, Helgeland

Farmers in the district were hired to supply poles to the power line. Clip from the newspaper Dunderlandsdølen.

We need a lot of rain

Today, the Norwegian power supply consists of hydropower, wind power and thermal power, where hydropower accounts for 90 percent. Thus, rain and snow are an important part of our Norwegian resource base.  

Norwegian power supply has the highest share of renewables and the lowest emissions in Europe. The preliminary record for Norwegian power production was set in 2020, where 154.2 TWh was produced.

Although we can store water in our reservoirs until we need it, during spring floods and periods of extraordinary rainfall, we will produce much more power than we consume domestically. Instead of letting the water go unused at sea, the flood power is sold abroad.

 

At the same time, precipitation over Norway follows certain cycles that must be planned according to. Crowded reservoirs create an increased risk of flooding in watercourses when large amounts of precipitation occur. Therefore, the magazines are drained as a contingency. But if the precipitation deviates much from the forecasts, in some cases there may be too little Norwegian power production, and then the cables through which we sold flood power are used for power imports to ensure the industry's needs.

Overall, we in Norway can produce a lot of power, but we also have a very high consumption. We need electricity for households, industry, street lighting, shops, schools and hospitals, and in Norway the power processing industry is a major consumer. The precipitation that falls over the country means that viable communities are created in Mo i Rana, Mosjøen, Odda and many dozens of industrial sites in the country.

Vannkraft, Mo i Rana, Helgeland

Akersvatnet is a large battery that stores electrical power until we need it. Photo: Statkraft

The five largest power plants in the region

Among the eight largest power plants in the country, three of them are located in the areas around Svartisen and Okstindbreen. The largest share of power production in the region takes place under the auspices of Statkraft, but Helgeland Kraft and a number of smaller privately owned small power plants also contribute large production. The five largest power plants in the region are all owned by Statkraft:

Svartisen power plant 2196 TWh

Rana power plant 2153 TWh

Nedre Røssåga power plant 2056 TWh

Øvre Røssåga 901 TWh

Langvatn 242 TWh

 

Vannkraft, Mo i Rana, Helgeland

The Rana power plant has recently undergone a major renovation and is ready for another 50 years of power production. Photo: Statkraft

Made metals from snow

The fact that Helgeland are fortunate enough to use renewable energy as a raw material for millions of tonnes of steel, aluminum, ferromanganese and silicon for the world market, reduces the international use of coal power. Our raindrops has a positive global climate effect.

Celsa Reinforcing Steel consumes 360,000 MWh every year to produce 700,000 tonnes of reinforcing steel. Every tonne of steel contains 500 KWh of renewable energy.

 

Ferroglobe's smelter produces up to 125,000 tonnes a year of the steel alloy ferromanganese, and at Elkem Rana the renewable energy is converted to 90,000 tonnes of ferrosilicon.The metals from Mo i Rana, contains snowstorms, rainy days, wind and some sunshine.

Vannkraft, silisium, Mo i Rana, Helgeland

One tonne of ferrosilicon from Mo i Rana is created from 9000 KWh of renewable energy. Photo: Minon | Dreamstime

Security of supply and security of power

A secure supply of electricity is fundamental for Norway to function. The power market has an important role in ensuring that there is always a balance between consumption and production. With varying inflows to the hydropower system, the supply of reservoirs and the possibility of power exchange between the regions and abroad is a prerequisite for security of supply in Norway.  

Some days it is extra cold all over the country, and the power supply must be strong enough to take such peaks. Although the power consumption will vary, the trend has been that the power consumption increases in line with the growth in the general electricity consumption.

 

In 1990, the maximum power output was 18420 MW. On 15 January 2022, a new consumption record was registered, with a power consumption of 25,146 MW per hour between 8 and 9 in the morning. The next day, a production record was set in Norway, where the power plants in one hour emitted 27,698 MW. Domestic power consumption has thus increased by 33 per cent since 1990, and has had stronger growth than electricity consumption. These are development features that are expected to characterize future power consumption.

 

We need more power

In the period 2005 - 2020, housing was built for 460,000 new households in Norway. There are 100,000 more households than there are in the city of Oslo, and this has dramatically increased our electricity consumption. With an average consumption of 16,000 KWh per household, the new households correspond to an increase of 7,360 MWh, ie almost 3.5 times the production at the large Rana Power Plant.

 

Norway has signed binding climate agreements which mean that most of our transport by sea and land, as well as all our industry will be electrified. If we are to meet our obligations without having to close down parts of our power-processing and climate-friendly industry in the districts, then power production must increase. This can mainly only happen through the development of wind power, but to a much greater extent we must also look for new energy sources such as rock heat, solar collectors and solar cells.

Vannkraft, Mo i Rana, Helgeland

Langvatn power station is an architectural style study. Photo: Statkraft

Vannkraft, Mo i Rana, Helgeland

In our mountains there are many kilometers of tunnels to direct the water to the power stations. Photo: Statkraft

Vannkraft, Mo i Rana, Helgeland

During the modernization of the Røssåga power plants in 2016, a tunnel boring machine was used. Photo: Statkraft

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