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Norway moves to calm winter power supply security concerns

Highlights

NVE says no threat to security of supply despite low hydro

Sees reservoirs reaching historical minimum this winter

Wholesale price increase reflects bullish fuels, EUAs not supply

London — The Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate (NVE) on Thursday painted a positive power supply picture for the country for the winter season despite record low stocks in hydro reservoirs.

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The NVE, a directorate of the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy, said it expects no danger for security of supply in the coming winter despite an exceptionally hot, dry summer that followed a cold winter which depleted hydro stocks and depressed the rate of replenishment.

This was because Norway still has a lot of water in the reservoirs despite a lower filling rate than normal. It can import power from Sweden, Denmark and the Netherlands, and use its increased domestic network capacity to reduce the risk of a strained energy system, NVE said.

With normal rainfall, Norway has a power surplus of around 5 TWh, which means the system can still be in balance even if the country has a lower-than-normal refill rate, it said.

NVE is responsible for the management of Norway's water and energy resources.

This summer, Nordic power prices rose to new multi-year highs triggered by less precipitation and higher evaporation that resulted in record low hydro reserves. This increased the need for thermal generation and imports from neighboring countries.

Norwegian system operator Statnett said the country had imported more electricity than it exported for several periods due to "an unusually dry and hot spring" that resulted in about 2.5 billion kilowatt hours (2.5 TWh) turning into vapor, along with weak rainfall. But it added that the energy situation is likely to remain within normal ranges throughout the country.

Furthermore, NVE said the recent price gains are not just related to low hydro levels but also due to rising gas, coal and carbon prices.

--Anuradha Ramanathan, anuradha.ramanathan@spglobal.com

--Edited by Jeremy Lovell, jeremy.lovell@spglobal.com