Klima og energiomstilling
Ph.d-prosjekt 2021

2021 - From Black Gold to the Green Battery? The Future of Norwegian glaciers, hydropower potential, and societal constraints

Norddalen Dam


Petroleum and hydroelectricity are staples on the Norwegian energy menu. Climate change makes countries renounce the former, but favors the latter due to increased precipitation over Scandinavia. Adding to the complexity, retreating glaciers threaten their role as secondary hydropower reservoirs while also exposing deep basins that provide a cost-effective way for building new dams. These may play a crucial part in Europe’s transition to renewable energy by providing much needed pumped hydroelectric storage.

What is the future of Norwegian glaciers, and what constraints does that put on energy production and storage? And, importantly, how does society use this knowledge to ultimately decide upon our future? Elected officials must balance industry needs with cultural heritage and environmental concerns. Political decisions based on scientific constraints are the heart of the matter of the energy transition—in particular in the era of fake news—and the motivation for our collaboration. Using state-of-the-art methods, we will produce detailed estimates for the future of Folgefonna glacier and its hydropower potential, for all available future climate scenarios. We will then evaluate how this new expert knowledge affects stakeholder opinion.