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Much welcomed Tyin power on schedule

June 16, 2003, 01:00 CEST

When the new Tyin power station comes on stream in October next year, Hydro Energy will have increased annual production without encroaching on the natural environment - by an amount equivalent to that produced by the Alta plant in Northern Norway, which represented an environmentally controversial development in the early 1980s.

All told, the upgrades of Hydro's plants at Tyin, Fortun and Rjukan represent more than 500 GWh increased annual production capacity. All these developments were completed with minimal impact on the natural environment.

Senior vice president Knut Johan Malvik believes that green certificates within the hydroelectric sector would enable the implementation of further environmentally friendly projects.

"As an industrial consumer, Hydro is concerned that there is a tight power balance in the Norwegian market. The new Tyin development means 200 GWh of extra annual production compared with the old power plant," said Malvik at a press conference on Wednesday.

The increased production capacity will be much welcomed by Hydro's metal plants in Årdal and in the power market elsewhere. However, Malvik believes that capacity at Tyin and other Norwegian power plants could have been further increased, if developers had received grants in line with those that wind power projects receive.

"There is a great potential for increased production from Norwegian power plants – and consumers need the power. Had we had green certificates for hydroelectric power as well, we could have greatly augmented production, making only minor encroachments in the natural environment," adds Malvik.

He confirms that Hydro had to drop measures that might have helped increase production at Tyin power plant - measures which would have profitable with "green subsidies".

No lost-time injuries
After the press conference, journalists were given an insight into a world that is seldom open to the public. The journey by bus took them through the 1500 metre long tunnel from Temrebakkene to Øvre Årdal, and into the hall of the power plant.

The enormous mountain cavern, which will house the generators, turbines and transformers, is 38 metres high, 60 metres long and 17 metres wide. The extensive blasting needed was completed without any lost-time injuries:

"Although there have traditionally been lots of injuries in the construction industry, we have placed a great deal of emphasis on preventive measures, together with contractors Selmer Skanska. We have had reports on all potentially dangerous incidents, so that we can improve and involve everybody at the site in safety work. Since construction start-up in September last year, we have completed just under 400,000 working hours without lost-time injuries," says site manager Arne Nøttveit of Hydro Technology and Projects (HTP).

Useful rubble
The entire Tyin project is characterized by the way in which health, environment and safety (HES) are highlighted. The encroachments into nature are very limited, with no large new waterfall affected. Even the enormous amounts of rubble excavated will come in useful, instead of ending up as visually polluting waste.

A total of some 1.4 million cubic metres of rubble have been excavated from the mountain during blasting of the 21 kilometres of tunnel way. The rubble will come in useful for several projects undertaken by Årdal district council.

One of them is situated at Ytre Moa, just behind Hydro's aluminium metal plant at Øvre Årdal, where 400,000 cubic metres of stone will form a new car park and service area for different cultural and leisure activities. Around 500,000 cubic metres of stone have been used for a new stretch of highway 53, while 230,000 cubic metres will come in very handy when extending a local industrial estate plus recreational area.