Hydropower

Greenland has ample water resources and has made use of these through significant investments in hydropower. An annual investment of approximately 1% of GDP during the past many years has led to more than 50% of the national energy supply now being supplied from renewable sources. In addition to being a CO2-neutral source of energy, investments in hydropower contribute to enhancing self-sufficiency and reducing dependency on imported oil to the benefit of climate, the trade balance and price stability.

 

Greenland has five hydroelectric power plants, the most recent in Ilulissat came into use in 2013. This implies that Greenland’s four largest towns are now supplied by hydropower. In the table below, you can get an overview of the different hydropower plants, their area of supply, year of start-up and total capacity:

 

Name

Area of Supply

In operation since

Capacity in Megawatt

Buksefjorden

Nuuk

1993

45 MW

Tasilaq

Tasiilaq

2004

1.2 MW

Qorlortorsuaq

Narsaq og Qaqortoq

2008

7.2 MW

Sisimiut

Sisimiut

2010

15 MW

Pakitsoq

Ilulissat

2013

22.5 MW

 

A number of the plants have sufficient electricity available for district heating. In this way, an increasing part of the heating production is now generated without increased emissions of greenhouse gasses.

 

Feasibility Studies

A considerable amount of groundwork and comprehensive investigations are required to find out, where to locate a new hydropower plant. Patterns of precipitation, topography and geology are surveyed, while trying to gain an understanding of the present state of water resources as well as of how they can be expected to develop in the future. Significant investments are required and it is important that both socioeconomic and environmental sustainability have been taken into account. 

 

Every year, funds are put aside on the national budget to carry out such feasibility studies of hydropower potentials. The studies are administered by the Department of Nature, Energy and Climate and are carried out by Asiaq , the Greenland Survey in close dialogue with Nukissiorfiit, the National Energy Supply Company.

 

Feasibility studies are focused on urban areas, where it is possible to supply a larger number of residents without significant energy losses. Transporting electricity across longer distances is associated with great losses and hence constitutes a barrier to the establishment of hydropower plants in more scarcely populated areas. This is part of the explanation as to why many smaller towns and settlements are still dependent on an energy supply based on fossil fuels.

Vandkraft

If you would like to know more...

Asiaq - The Greenland Survey

Statistics Greenland

Energy Statistics in Greenland

Global Weirding

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