CEDREN is a true multi-disciplinary research centre, and all projects and activities are organised with emphasis on bringing several disciplines together, with technologists, economists, ecologists, hydrologists and political scientists joining forces to work towards common goals. The structure of the FME scheme concentrating on "thematic research centres" makes this possible. We strongly believe this would not have been possible in traditionally organised research.
CEDREN has contributed to gain more knowledge in specific fields of research. However, the largest advances in research and contribution to solve challenges related to renewable energy, has clearly been in the interface between traditional disciplines. In addition, the FME scheme also creates a platform of dialogue between scientists and a broad range of end users and stakeholders from industry, authorities and the public. We have experienced that meetings, workshops and seminars organised by CEDREN, creates an open atmosphere where parties that may have contrasting views can meet for information exchange, discussion and positive dialogue.
Before CEDREN started, the strategic vision for future energy policy in Norway did not emphasize the role of hydropower as an important part of future technology. After eight years of research on environmental design of renewable energy, the attitude towards hydropower has changed. Hydropower and flexible energy systems are now given top priority, and the need for ecological and environmental design of renewables is clearly stated by the updated Norwegian Energi21 research strategy. The concept of environmental design of hydropower is in wide use by the industry and the authorities.
CEDREN has developed new and innovative solutions for hydropower technology to meet future demands for more flexible operation and increased need for balancing and storage in the electricity system. At the same time, CEDREN has developed methods, models and guidelines to assess environmental impacts and to find win-win solutions for hydropower production and the ecosystem - successfully implemented as environmental design of hydropower.
The term environmental design has been established and demonstrated not only for hydropower but also for wind power and power lines. CEDREN has developed methods and ready-to-use tools to find the most optimal routing of power transmission lines taking technical, economic, environmental and societal factors into consideration. Through new tools and methods developed in CEDREN, siting and operation of wind power plants can be better adapted to the environment, avoiding conflicts between wildlife and energy production.
One of the main tasks in CEDREN has been to educate PhD, post docs and MSc students. About 30 PhD and post docs and around 100 master students have done their thesis in a broad spectre of CEDREN topics. These candidates are now well suited to serve industry, academia and authorities in future challenges in renewable energy. A lot of the research achievements and results from CEDREN are now used in lectures and special courses at various topics at several study programmes at NTNU.
CEDREN has produced results ranging from fundamental research findings and new theoretical explanations, to computer model development and application of new methods. In-depth research in specific topics have helped understand how river-bed shear stress and lift forces work when discharge changes rapidly, how environmental conditions such as physical habitat, water temperature, ice conditions and water flow influence the growth and survival of young salmonids, and how power line corridors can be maintained to create important grazing areas for moose. These and many more examples of fundamental research all contribute to the wider understanding of the complex challenge to improve environmental conditions at the same time as increasing or maintaining the power production. CEDREN has used such new findings together with existing knowledge and international literature to systematically develop methods, models and guidelines for application, implementation and a broad use of science. This is demonstrated widely in CEDREN, for example in:
- Tools for consensus based siting of wind power plants and powerlines
- Tools to calculate discharge in ungauged rivers
- Models to study how salmon populations are affected by river regulation and climate change
- Guidance in how to make decision-making processes for renewable energy better
- How to compare environmental impacts from different renewable energy sources
The above list is just showing a few of the applied results from CEDREN. Many of these results have been used in case studies, mostly in close collaboration with user partners, describing case studies as the best way of learning and implementing new methods, models and research results.
CEDREN has met with individual user partners 56 times, and the authorities 18 times throughout the project-period. Targeting academia and the scientific community, industry, authorities, stakeholders and the wider public, communication and dissemination have been a central part of CEDREN. This has resulted in:
- 170 scientific publications and more than 500 conference presentations
- Results communicated as reports, briefs, memos, books, handbooks and booklets in order to reach target groups outside the scientific community
- The "Handbook for environmental design in regulated salmon rivers" which gives direct advice for users, and is translated to English and Chinese
- Five textbooks summarizing and illustrating results using a popular science language very well received among end users
- That CEDREN results and knowledge have been exposed in the media in more than 1000 articles.
Being a research centre has also made it easier to obtain funding and support for laboratory infrastructure and instrumentation for field work to be used by students and researchers in CEDREN. Updated laboratories and modern instruments for field work are crucial to perform in-depth and high-quality experiments and research, and for attracting excellent students and researchers to CEDREN.
32 specific innovations have been identified, ranging from an elevated perch for eagle owls to avoid electrocution, to laser scanning of tunnels and rock caverns - from new models to study energy storage by pumped hydro, to a methodology describing how to obtain environmental adapted hydropeaking.
CEDREN has been very visible internationally and the concept of thematic research centres has been highly appreciated and recognized as an excellent platform to increase international collaboration. In all projects, CEDREN has collaborated with internationally recognised research groups. A research centre offers a good platform to organise international activities, and CEDREN has hosted, organised or co-organised seminars, workshops and meetings in China, Ethiopia, France, Germany, India, Netherlands, Romania, Tanzania, Turkey, Uganda, USA and UK.
The research groups at SINTEF Energi, NINA and NTNU are all engaged in advancing the research and bringing new methods, models and solutions for environmental design of renewable energy further in the coming years.