Climate and environment
Statkraft carries out activities that support a global transition towards a low carbon and climate-resilient economy by providing renewable and sustainable energy solutions.
99% of Statkraft’s power generation in 2015 was based on renewable energy sources, and new investments are now exclusively made within renewable energy. At the same time, all power generation is associated with different forms of interventions in nature. Systematic environmental management in line with good international practice minimises and compensates for the negative environmental impact of the company's activities.
Climate change and global warming are among the greatest challenges of our day. Statkraft contributes to meeting this challenge by offering both mitigation and adaptation. Our generation of renewable energy – with hydropower at its core – has a low carbon footprint. The operation of our power plants and storage facilities can be adapted to dampen the impact of floods and droughts. Our storage hydropower provides quick and efficient flexibility which in turn can balance more variable energy sources (solar and wind).
As a generator of renewable power, Statkraft is directly exposed to the effects of climate change. First, changes in the availability of natural resources (precipitation, run-off and wind) can influence the profitability of our assets significantly. Likewise, climate policy formation will have an impact on our current and future operations and business opportunities.
As being a European leader within renewable energy, Statkraft needs to have in-depth understanding of regulatory frameworks, national and international climate policies, negotiations and processes, as well as of the effects of climate change on our renewable resources. We have chosen a specific climate scenario as a starting point for the Statkraft's long-term analytical and evaluation work. In addition, Statkraft has established a research programme which focuses on the development of business specific climate knowledge and will contribute to adapt the global climate models to our planning and operation. Statkraft participates in the international debate on climate, and is actively involved in the discussion about carbon pricing as the most efficient instrument towards decarbonisation.
Statkraft's core business areas are hydropower and wind power. Both technologies have a low carbon footprint, but as any form of energy utilisation, they cause interventions in ecosystems and the landscape. Statkraft’s objective is to make interventions as gentle as possible, and adapt them to local conditions.
Hydropower has many advantages, including low emissions, high efficiency and energy ratio payback, long lifetime and high flexibility. The large Norwegian water reservoirs enable us to produce electricity even when there is little inflow. This flexibility is particularly important in combination with intermittent technologies, such as wind power. Development and operation of hydropower plants facilitate multiple uses of watercourses and regulation plants. Examples of such use include irrigation, water supply, transport and recreation. In addition, flood control using reservoirs is an important safety measure in many areas.
Statkraft’s goal is to achieve sustainable water management, and our environmental efforts in relation to river systems and fish are comprehensive. Examples of such efforts include environmentally adapted operation of the power plants, laying down suitable spawning and smolt growth substrate, fish restocking, egg planting, construction of fish ladders and improvement of thresholds and migration barriers.
Wind power is another renewable technology with almost no emissions. The tendency is towards larger, more effective turbines, higher towers and fewer turbines in each wind farm, which is considered to be a positive development in terms of environmental impact.
Both onshore and offshore, Statkraft's wind power developments are facing environmental challenges. Birds are a recurring topic, both due to the risk of collision and because wind farms can drive certain bird species away from their natural habitats or form barriers to important migration routes. Establishing wind farms with the associated infrastructure can influence living conditions for plants and animals, particularly in the construction phase. Noise and landscape aesthetics are other topics that are carefully considered when establishing new wind farms.
Statkraft is also involved in activities using other technologies, primarily production of gas power, production of biopower, production of district heating, grid distribution and some gas distribution.
For more information please see Statkraft’s annual report .