Skagerak Kraft faces major investments in its dams in the years ahead. Preliminary estimates show that around half a billion kroner will be spent over the next 15–20 years. The investments are related to new guidelines from the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate (NVE). The modifications will not increase power production.
In January 2010, the new Regulations governing the safety and supervision of watercourse structures entered into force. The new provisions classify all dams in accordance with their potential failure consequences. The greatest failure consequence is class 4, while the least is class 0. Skagerak Energi has more than 50 dams in classes 1 to 4 and as many in class 0.
In class 4, a potential dam breach will have consequences for at least 150 housing units. The Regulations require all dams in this class to be able to withstand earthquakes and the biggest potential flood scenario (1000-year flood). They must also be equipped with blast-resistant stone cladding. All dams and classified watercourse facilities must be subject to regular supervision and follow-up. A class 1 dam must be able to withstand a 500-year flood, but does not need to be designed to withstand earthquakes.
In addition to general dam safety, the NVE is responsible for ensuring that the regulator follows up statutory licence requirements such as fish stocking and other environmental measures in the public interest.
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