At NINA, we use our disciplinary skills and interdisciplinary expertise in both biology and the social sciences to identify effective environmental solutions for hydropower, wind power and the power grid.
For energy production to be sustainable, it is not sufficient for it simply to be renewable and have low greenhouse gas emissions. Energy must also be produced in a way that is as gentle as possible for the local ecosystem. At NINA, we use our interdisciplinary expertise in biology and the social sciences to find effective environmental solutions for hydropower, wind power and the power grid. The issues NINA is working on include migration solutions for fish in regulated rivers, locating and designing wind turbines to reduce bird collisions, selecting routes for power lines to reduce environment impacts, and reducing societal conflicts related to renewable energy.
Within renewable energy, the scope of NINA’s work ranges from impact assessments for power developments and local mitigation measures to interdisciplinary research projects funded by the Research Council of Norway and the EU. NINA participates in many national and international collaborative forums, and is a member of three interdisciplinary Research Centres for Environment-friendly Energy (FME Centres).
Norwegian Research Centre on Wind
Norwegian Research Centre for Hydropower Technology
Centre for Environmental Design of Renewable Energy
NINA and partners have developed the interdisciplinary environmental design concept, which is a method for minimizing environmental impacts, while at the same time taking into account that power production needs to be profitable.
By employing environmental design, we can arrive at solutions that unite both economic interests and ecological considerations for the common benefit of society.
NINA has broad expertise in the environmental effects of hydropower and works with reservoirs and regulated rivers. In addition, our work extends through the entire network of infrastructure connected to hydropower plants on a large scale. Our knowledge of all species from fish, benthic animals and mussels to plants, birds and mammals ensures the ecological insight needed to create good environmental solutions in regulated watercourses.
In addition, NINA investigates the wide spectrum of user interests in and around river systems, including ecosystem services, outdoor recreation and fishing.
By combining knowledge about species and ecosystems with expertise in technology and GIS, NINA's researchers develop environmental solutions that reduce encroachment on the environment from wind power and power lines. For example, NINA is working on how to reduce collisions between birds and wind turbines and grid lines and is studying the effect of power lines on migrating wild reindeer.
In addition to developing effective mitigation measures on local wind farms, NINA is also working to find the most suitable areas for siting power plants and power lines, and is using the ConSite (Consensus-based siting) tool as one of its multi-criteria assessment instruments.
NINA's social science expertise is central to our research on renewable energy. Watersheds and land areas where power stations are installed have many users, and energy production affects multiple interests.
NINA’s research ranges from energy policy and environmental economics to land management and conflict management, in order to most effectively address the environmental and societal considerations in developing and operating power plants. Knowledge and transparent methods that ensure broad participation can reduce conflicts and be used to identify the solutions that are best for as many people as possible.
Turbulent eddies to create paths for safe downstream migration for salmonids and eel past hydropower intakes
Developing new technology permitting highly flexible operation of hydropower stations
Restoration project re-connecting the Boardman River with Lake Michigan
Joint program Hydropower in The European Energy Research Alliance (EERA)
Revising and re-structuring the Renewable Energy system while preserving long-term wild reindeer habitat functionality
Planning and management tools for development of environmental‐friendly renewable energy