Renewable energy

Renewable energy

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

News from NINA
Turbulent eddies to save fish from turbines
6. July 2021

A wild idea can be the solution to get fish past power plants.

Can Turbulent eddies save fish from turbines?
21. May 2021

Researchers seek to use turbulent eddies in the river to safely guide salmon and eels past hydropower plants. 

How efficient are mitigation measures for bird-friendly wind power?
14. August 2020
Simple measures can make wind turbines more bird friendly. New research shows that measures such as painting the rotor blades or towers, using UV-light and smart micro-siting of wind turbines, decreases the risk for bird collisions considerably.

Environmental design for 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. 

Wind power and power lines

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.

Energy policy and societal acceptance of renewable energy

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

JP Hydropower

Joint program Hydropower in The European Energy Research Alliance (EERA)

Renewable Reindeer

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


Footprint and Impacts of Renewable Energy: Pressure on Lands Under Growth

Norwegian Institute for Nature Research

NINA is an independent foundation for nature research and research on the interaction between human society, natural resources and biodiversity.
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