Well-filled water reservoirs in the north – unclear if the electricity price is affected in southern Sweden

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The reservoirs of hydropower plants that store water for future electricity production are overflowing, reports say Swedens radio.

According to Per Larsson, Vattenfall’s head of production planning in the Nordics, the plants in northern Sweden have been forced to let more water pass by than normal at the same time as production has been at full speed.

– We had a strong spring flood and that led to the warehouses being well filled when we arrived in mid-August, and then we also received an extremely high amount of rainfall for a couple of days, he says to Swedens radio.

SVT Norrbotten has previously reported on the very high flows in the Luleälven which, among other things, affected the residents of Harads with major floods. Criticism was then leveled against Vattenfall for draining from the reservoirs in an uncontrolled manner.

Works like batteries

The water reservoirs function as a kind of “battery” where water is stored waiting to be converted into energy during times of the year when the water flow is low and the demand for electricity is at its highest, but according to Per Larsson it is unclear if and how the electricity price will be affected.

– Lower if they hadn’t been full, we can say. What are high and low electricity prices in these times is difficult to say, but of course it is the case that if there is plenty of water, it is good from a consumer perspective, he says.

Problems remain

However, it is unlikely that the increased production in the north will ease the situation in southern Sweden, where electricity prices have been at record highs for periods. So even if the water rulings – rules for how the power plants are allowed to drain lakes of water – were to change.

– It has been discussed, if you have the technical possibility to run more than what the water decrees allow, for example, that you could ease the water decrees temporarily, but these are not big numbers, says Jonas Bengtsson, CEO of Vattenregleringsföretagen, to the radio.

Even with higher production, the problem of limited transmission capacity from north to south remains. It is estimated to take up to ten years to remove.