Four things you may not know about renewable energy

Renewable energy is becoming the cheapest new source of energy in more and more countries. Here are four renewable facts you may not be aware of 

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That sounds like a perfect cure for the mid-winter blues, but floating solar power doesn’t come in a tube.

That sounds like a perfect cure for the mid-winter blues, but floating solar power doesn’t come in a tube.

Right now, four vast solar panels lie gently bobbing on the surface of a lake in sunny Albania. The calm waters of the reservoir south of the capital are perfect for what could be described as the future’s most effective ‘two birds with one stone’. Solar power meets hydropower.

“What´s fantastic is that we in Norway are in a good position to lead the way in this development,” says VP Olav Hølland, who heads the project management unit at Statkraft’s International Power business area.

By 2030, the installed capacity is expected to have reached 10 GW. 








“Floating solar power will expand most in Asia, particularly in countries like India and South Korea, because they have existing hydropower reservoirs and plenty of sun,” Olav Hølland explains.

The key is to get more out of what you already have. Space that is used for hydropower reservoirs can capture the sun’s rays and easily be connected to existing infrastructure.

There are many benefits: The facilities don’t take up otherwise productive areas of land and therefore eliminate land leasing costs, they rarely inconvenience people, they can use the infrastructure that is already in place, and the solar panels are cooled naturally by the water beneath them.

Floating solar

OLAV HØLLAND
VP International Power
at Statkraft

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Det høres ut som et vidundermiddel mot vinterdepresjon. Men flytende sol kommer ikke på tube.

Akkurat nå ligger fire store solcellepaneler og dupper
i vannoverflaten i solfylte Albania. Det blikkstille vannreservoaret sør for hovedstaden, er perfekt for det
som kan bli fremtidens mest effektive to fluer i en smekk. Solkraft møter vannkraft.

 – Det spennende er at vi i Norge har gode forutsetninger
for å lede an denne utviklingen, sier Olav Hølland, leder
for avdelingenInternasjonal kraft i Statkraft

Innen 2030 er det forventet at produksjonen er oppe i
10 GW. 












– Flytende sol vil vokse mest i Asia og særlig i land som
India og Sør-Korea, fordi dette er land med etablerte vannkraftmagasiner og med mye sol, sier Olav.

Nøkkelen er å få mer ut av det man allerede har.
Landareal som brukes til vannmagasiner, kan høste sol
og koble seg på eksisterende infrastruktur.

Fordelene er mange: Det opptar ikke produktivt landareal, det er ikke til sjenanse for folk, man kan utnytte infrastrukturen som allerede er tilgjengelig, solpanelene får naturlig avkjøling av vannet og man fjerner behovet for å leie landareal.

Flytende sol

How can hydrogen be green and still propel a car forward?

Did you know that hydrogen is the most abundant element in the entire universe? It actually makes up more than 90 per cent of the atoms in the universe and three-quarters of its mass. It is also a super-effective energy carrier!

“Here on Earth, we know hydrogen best in combination with oxygen, H2O – water, in other words. And we’ve got quite a bit of that,” says Ulf Eriksen, VP Hydrogen at Statkraft.

To produce a fuel that can power a car, the water must undergo a process whereby its hydrogen atoms are separated from its oxygen atoms. The hydrogen is cooled and compressed into liquid form.








“Hydrogen can be used worldwide to generate electricity and heat, and in transport systems. Because hydrogen has such a low weight in its stored form, it is perfect for heavy goods vehicles, buses and ships. A car carrying just five kilos of hydrogen could drive from Bergen to Oslo, a distance of around 460 km (285 miles),” he explains.

Over 250,000 households in Japan use hydrogen-based energy to heat their homes and cook their food. Over 18,000 forklift trucks with hydrogen in their tanks drive backwards and forwards in the USA.

According to Ulf Eriksen, using fossil fuels to produce hydrogen is pretty pointless in the long run. “That’s what makes our access to water here in Norway is so unique. It enables us to produce hydrogen using hydropower – with no carbon emissions of any kind,” he says.

Light gas does heavy duty

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ULF ERIKSEN
VP Hydrogen at Statkraft.

Renewable power twice as efficient as fossil fuel 

As they go about their daily lives, most people don’t think much about primary energy and terawatt hours, but here come some facts and figures anyway. Did you know that 40 TWh of renewable energy can replace an eye-watering 95 TWh of fossil-generated energy? How is that possible?

Fundamentally, because renewable electricity is so much more efficient that fossil-generated energy.

Imagine that you have a petrol-driven car and put 100 litres of petrol in its tank. No more than 25 litres of that amount actually propels your car forward. A whopping 75 litres is converted into heat energy that disappears literally into thin air.











With an electric car, things are quite different. If you have an electric car and charge it up with 100 kWh of electricity, as much as 90 kWh is used to propel the car forward. This is because the electric motors in the car are so much more energy efficient than a standard combustion engine.

The same is true if you replace an oil-fired boiler with a heat pump to heat up your home. The heat pump is far more efficient, which means you need much less energy to heat up your home.

This is good news for the transition from fossil fuels to the use of renewable energy.

For industrial nations like Germany, the USA and China, this could mean more power for their money. Germany alone generates around 27 per cent of the EU’s total industrial output. That’s more than the UK and France put together. Up to now, coal power has been its primary source of energy.

According to Carsten Poppinga, Senior Vice President Trading and Origination at Statkraft, switching to new forms of energy will play a crucial role in creating a safe, environment-friendly and financially successful future. “To achieve this, Germany’s energy supply must be radically overhauled. It needs to switch from nuclear power and fossil fuels to renewable energy and strive for greater energy efficiency,” he says. 

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CARSTEN POPPINGA
Senior VP Trading and Origination at Statkraft

Sustainable clouds

Many people dream of living a sustainable life. With renewable power, your digital life is almost entirely that.  

Every email you send or receive requires energy. Every document, program, password and browser window generates heat and requires cooling.

“One of the biggest challenges we face today is handling the physical consequences of technology and digitalisation,” says VP Atle Haga, who is project manager for Statkraft’s data centre programme.

Why? Because the data centre industry is the fastest growing power-intensive industry in the world. The need for digital storage space is enormous. Just think about this:

• A small data centre can use as much energy as a small town.

• 20 years ago, the internet had scarcely 100 million users.
Now it has over 4 billion.

• In the future, artificial intelligence (IA) and the internet of
things (IoT) will require vast amounts of data capacity and
energy.

• Today, most data centres use electricity generated from fossil
fuels, such as coal, gas and oil.











In 2015, GeSI estimated that global data traffic in 2020 would account for more than 2 per cent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. That is almost as much as the world’s entire airline industry has produced in recent years. And it will increase.

“Energy consumption accounts for 30–50 per cent of a data centre’s operating costs. In the years ahead, data traffic will increase many times over, and the need for energy will skyrocket.

So the energy supplying the new data centres should come from renewable sources,” says Atle.

Many people dream of living a sustainable life. With renewable power, your digital life is almost entirely that.  

Every email you send or receive requires energy. Every document, program, password and browser window generates heat and requires cooling.

“One of the biggest challenges we face today is handling the physical consequences of technology and digitalisation,” says VP Atle Haga, who is project manager for Statkraft’s data centre programme.

Why? Because the data centre industry is the fastest growing power-intensive industry in the world. The need for digital storage space is enormous. Just think about this:

• A small data centre can use as much
energy as a small town.

• 20 years ago, the internet had
scarcely 100 million users. Now it
has over 4 billion.

• In the future, artificial intelligence
(IA) and the internet of things (IoT)
will require vast amounts of data
capacity and energy.

• Today, most data centres use
electricity generated from fossil
fuels, such as coal, gas and oil.










In 2015, GeSI estimated that global data traffic in 2020 would account for more than 2 per cent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. That is almost as much as the world’s entire airline industry has produced in recent years. And it will increase.

“Energy consumption accounts for 30–50 per cent of a data centre’s operating costs. In the years ahead, data traffic will increase many times over, and the need for energy will skyrocketescalate sharply.

So the energy supplying the new data centres should come from renewable sources,” says Atle.

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ATLE HAGA
Project Manager Statkraft's data center programme

.. renewable energy has become so cost-effective that even the world’s largest mining company has switched from coal power to renewable energy?

.. you can teach
hydropower plants to speak?

.. renewable energy often replaces coal power?


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