The Anonymous Widower

Will Norwegian Pumped Storage Hydro Help Us Through The Winter?

In UK To Norway Sub-Sea Green Power Cable Operational, I discussed the North Sea Link interconnector to Norway.

The North Sea Link is no ordinary interconnector, as it is a lot more than a 1.4 GW cable linking the electricity grids of the UK and Norway.

  • At the UK end, there is an increasing amount of wind power. The UK has added 3.5 GW in 2022.
  • At the Norway end, there is the 2.1 GW Ulla-Førre hydropower complex.
  • The water to generate electricity at Ulla-Førre comes from the artificial Lake Blåsjø, which contains enough water to generate 7.8 TWh of electricity.
  • The storage capacity at Ulla-Førre is 857 times greater than that at the UK’s largest pumped storage hydroelectric power station at Dinorwig in North Wales.
  • The power complex consists of five power stations and some can also be used as a pump powered by UK electricity to fill Lake Blåsjø with water.

Effectively, the North Sea Link, the Ulla-Førre power complex and Lake Blåsjø are a giant pumped storage hydro battery, that can either be filled by Norwegian precipitation and water flows or by using surplus UK electricity, through the North Sea Link, which opened a year ago.

If the Norwegian precipitation goes on strike, the only way to fill Lake Blåsjø is to use surplus UK power, which I suspect will be British wind and nuclear in the middle of the night!

But then I thought we will be short of electricity this winter.

  • I suspect we will be at times, but then at others there will be a surplus.
  • So the surplus will be pumped to Norway to top up the reservoir at Lake Blåsjø.
  • When we are short of electricity, the Norwegians will turn water back into electricity and send it back through the North Sea Link.

It will be more sophisticated than that, but basically, I believe it provides us with the electricity we need, at the times, when we need it.

I wouldn’t be surprised to be told, that we’ve been squirreling away overnight wind energy to Norway over the last few months.

I have written more about Ulla-Førre in The Monster In The Mountains That Could Save Europe’s Winter.

It includes a video about the building of the complex.


October 7, 2022 - Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage | , , , , ,


  1. I think you need to factor in the reports that the Norwegian Government have been considering restricting electricity exports because as a report from Le Monde. …..”At the beginning of August, the reservoirs upstream of the dams are normally 78.9% full, according to the Norwegian Directorate for Water Resources and Energy (NVE). This year, they are only 68.4% full as a result of exceptionally low precipitation over the past two years. The situation is particularly worrying in southwestern Norway, where the reservoirs are only 50.4% full, because it is from this region that the country – the second largest supplier of gas in Europe – delivers a large part of its electricity to its European and British neighbors.”
    Stattnet, the Norwegian equivalent of the National Grid has voiced it’s opposition but I don’t think it should be overlooked.

    Comment by fammorris | October 7, 2022 | Reply

  2. Kvilldal not shown as PSP there are a couple of other stations in this area that are but they are nothing on the scale of Dinorwic. Guess Norway historically had ample hydro resources not to need to invest in them but wonder how much work it takes to convert them to be pumped storage capable.

    Comment by Nicholas Lewis | October 7, 2022 | Reply

  3. Thinking about it all practically, they would surely need at least 1.4 GW of pumping capacity, otherwise they couldn’t exploit the full capacity of the North Sea Link to fill the reservoir.

    Sending electricity the other way, they are limited to 1.4 GW by the interconnector.

    Comment by AnonW | October 7, 2022 | Reply

  4. I read on a forum that the EU has an agreement with Norway that that in the event of demand for energy exceeding supply it must give priority to EU customers over third countries including the UK. Is that the case, as it doesn’t seem to get mentioned in the mainstream media?

    Comment by JohnC | October 9, 2022 | Reply

    • I’ve never seen that. Was it stirring by Brexiteers?

      National Grid own half of the interconnector and benefits nicely from flows in either direction.

      I also read somewhere that Norway has had a shortage of precipitation and we have been banking electricity in Norway from all the wind farms.

      There are lots of scenarios and electricity will generally flow to the highest prices.

      At the present time, National Grid are proposing to build three interconnectors from the Sizewell area to Belgium, Kent and The Netherlands.

      The don’t do this for fun, but for energy security and to make money.

      Comment by AnonW | December 3, 2022 | Reply

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