Atel invests in small hydro power stations in Norway

Over the next seven years, Aare-Tessin Ltd. for Electricity (Atel) is planning to invest some CHF 200 million in small hydro power stations in Norway. The various plants will generate a total of around 475 GWh per year by 2015.

Stronger focus on renewable energies

Atel is aiming to add plants in Norway to its existing portfolio of small hydroelectric stations in Switzerland and Italy. Over the next seven years, the leading Swiss energy provider intends to invest some CHF 200 million in the acquisition and construction of small hydro power plants. Atel's small hydro power stations in Norway will have a total capacity of 100 MW and generate an annual 475 GWh of electricity from ecological, CO2-free hydro power: equivalent to the annual consumption of 100,000 households in Switzerland.

Atel intends this year to set up a new company, Ecopower Scandinavia, to take over responsibility for constructing and operating these plants. At present, twelve projects for small hydro power stations are being planned. The plants will be implemented over the next three years and together will generate more than 130 GWh of electrical energy, which is to be marketed by the Oslo-based Atel subsidiary Energipartner AS. The project sites are located in the west of Norway (between Stavanger and Trondheim) as well as in the north of the country, between Bodø and Tromsø.

Demand for electricity in Norway is outstripping supply. The country needs additional generation capacity to meet this need. The Norwegian government enacts special measures to support and promote the development of renewable energy sources.

Atel founded Atel EcoPower AG in Switzerland in 2006, with an initial injection of CHF 50 million for investment in small hydro power plants. The company is implementing projects for small hydro power plants at several dozen locations. Added to this, Atel has been operating a small 2-MW hydro power plant on the Gotthard Pass since 1991, with an annual generation of 3 GWh.

In Italy's northern Piedmont region, Atel generates electricity from two small power plants and aims to build additional plants in conjunction with a partner.

Small hydro power stations are plants with a capacity of up to 10 MW for hydraulic electricity generation. Such plants operate along the same principles as large hydro power stations.