Statkraft's innovation activities shall contribute to strengthen the competitiveness of the Group's core business areas. Business development, long-term expertise building and focused R&D programmes are all key aspects of this work.
R&D climate programme established
Through targeted R&D programmes, we want to strengthen our competitive advantage and develop new business models. Multiyear R&D programmes have been established, closely linked to the Group's strategic focus areas, hydropower, wind power and bio energy.
2013 saw the establishment of a new R&D programme within climate. The purpose of the climate programme is to study how climate change will impact Statkraft's power production and put forward relevant measures. The programme will facilitate uniform handling of climate challenges in the Group across business units. The programme will run over several years and has a budget of NOK 10 million per year.
Examples of innovation projects in 2013
- Hydropower: A new design for Pelton turbines has been tested and implemented by SN Power in a hydropower plant in Peru. A new coating technique increases wear and tear tolerance for the turbine, yielding a substantial value through increased lifespans and lower maintenance costs. The innovation is a result of a cooperation between Dynavec, the Norwegian University of Science and Technology and SN Power and is an example of how Statkraft supports innovation and supplier development within renewable energy production at the national level.
- Wind power: The size of offshores wind turbines is steadily increasing, creating challenges as regards seabed foundations. The costs associated with foundations are estimated to make up about 30% of the total cost for a wind farm, and a reduction here can therefore be of great importance for future wind farms. Foundations with so-called suction buckets are a promising solution, using a combination of gravity and under pressure to anchor the foundations to the seabed. As part of the testing of the technical solution and installation method, two such foundations were installed on the Doggerbank field in 2013.
- Hydropower: In winter, water is stored in the form of snow. It is therefore very important for power optimisation in the Nordic region to know the size of the snow reserve. However, measuring the amount of precipitation in winter is challenging, especially at low temperatures and high winds. A new, advanced measuring station at Haukeli addresses this problem. The project was initiated by Statkraft and met.no, but is currently under the auspices of Energy Norway. Better snow measurements will provide Statkraft with a better basis for power optimisation and researchers with a better understanding of climate change.
Osmotic power investments halted
For more than a decade, Statkraft has worked to develop osmotic power. The ambition has been to develop a competitive technology for production of renewable energy by 2020. In 2013, Statkraft stopped its investments in osmotic power. The background for the decision was that the current market outlook would not enable the development of a competitive technology within the foreseeable future.