Norway has long enjoyed relatively reasonable electricity rates because of its vast reserves of hydroelectric power, but they hit their highest level in more than a year this month. Bitterly cold temperatures are to blame.
“When cold weather sets in, demand rises for electricity,” noted Stina Johansen of the electricity exchange NordPool. She told news service Nettavisen that the cold weather is now affecting the Norwegian power market, with rates up to 0.402 per kilowatt hour in Southern Norway and 0.432 in Central and Northern Norway. That’s more than double the rate in February 2016, when Norway had another mild winter, and up between 50- and 83 percent from last February.
The weather got even colder on Wednesday, when temperatures fell to minus-42C in Folldal, in northern Hedmark County. That was followed closely by nearby Tynset in Østerdalen, where the official temperatures was logged at minus 37.3C
It was so cold in the mountains that skiers were discouraged from setting off on cross-country ski treks despite sunny skies. “It’s almost dangerous to go out in the mountain areas of Agder and Rogaland,” meteorologist Terje Alsvik Walløe told state broadcaster NRK, because of the risk of frost injuries and hypothermia.
It was so cold at the Eikedalen ski center in Hordaland County that the ski lifts were shut down. “The temperature is minus-25C, the winds are blowing and the lift ride takes 12 minutes,” ski center manager Fredrik Tønjum told NRK. “Then it’s irresponsible to operate it.”