Professor Henrik Bjornebye, University of Oslo and visiting fellow of the Energy Union Law Area, Florence School of Regulation, will provide a brief overview of the Norwegian licensing system before considering the legal requirements for the revision of hydropower concessions: Which concession requirements are subject to revision, and to what extent? How does the legal framework balance the concessionaire and the public’s interest in ensuring a high level of electricity production on the one hand with the interest of protecting the local environment on the other hand? And to what extent is the Norwegian scheme affected by EU and EEA law?
Norway’s electricity production is based almost entirely on hydropower, accounting for 94.3 per cent of the domestic production capacity. Reservoir power plays a particularly important role in the electricity system given its ability to provide balancing services. At the same time, these facilities also raise local environmental challenges and are subject to a number of licensing requirements. Concessions for Norwegian reservoir hydropower are usually awarded on a time-unlimited basis and the license requirements are subject to revision every 30 years. The main purpose of these revisions is to update the environmental requirements to reflect today´s needs. The license requirements in more than 400 hydropower concessions may be subject to revision by 2022, making this an important topic in the Norwegian electricity sector over the coming years.
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