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Life Cycle Data for Hydroelectric Generation at Embretsfoss 4 (E4) Power Station

Background Data for Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and Environmental Product Declaration (EPD)

In 2009 hydropower accounted for 16% of the world’s total electric generation (IEA, 2009). In Norway this number is about 99%, accounting for about 120 TWh generated annually (SSB, 2011). Hydropower is an attractive energy source, primarily because of its low operating cost per unit produced, its renewable character and because it is thought to have relatively low CO2 emissions per unit. Despite hydropower’s positive characteristics, there is discussion regarding emissions and environmental impacts from hydroelectric generation. Embretsfosskraftverkene therefore wants documentation of the environmental impacts of their hydroelectric generation, as part of their strategy to be an environmentally friendly energy producer seeking to contribute to more efficient and sustainable energy supplies in the Buskerud region and naturally adjacent regions.


E-Co Energi AS and EB Kraftproduksjon AS are equal owners and developers of the project, and through their joint venture Embretsfosskraftverkene DA, they are in the process of constructing a new hydropower station, Embretsfoss 4 (E4), anticipated to be finished by summer 2013. The primary goal of this study has been documentation of the environmental impacts of hydroelectric generation at this hydropower station through LCA, and to produce an EPD based on the LCA results. The EPD will be used by Embretsfosskraftverkene to promote and document the environmental standard of the electricity generated at the E4 hydropower station.


The LCA results show potential impacts in the categories global warming, ozone layer depletion, acidification, eutrophication, photochemical ozone creation and waste. The global warming potential for 1 kWh of hydroelectricity generated at the E4 station is 2.19 g.



In addition to conducting an LCA of hydroelectric generation at the E4 power station, Ostfold Research has also prepared an EPD based on the LCA results. Embretsfosskraftverkene will use the EPD for documentation and easy communication of the environmental standard of their hydroelectric generation at the E4 power station. All environmental impacts are given per 1 kWh of hydroelectricity produced, the declared unit of the EPD-study. The EPD was conducted in accordance with ISO 14025 (ISO standard for EPD), ISO 14044 and PCR 2007:08.


This report documents the LCA and the EPD, and describes the background analysis and processes that have been carried out during the analysis. In addition it accounts for the methods that are used during the analysis, and presents the results of the study.


The EPD is reviewed in accordance with current requirements for verification set by The Norwegian EPD Foundation ( and can be found as an attachment to this report.


The analysis and preparation of the EPD has been conducted by Silje Arnøy. A critical review of the data has been performed by Ingunn Saur Modahl, Ostfold Research AS. Verification of the analysis in accordance with the PCR has been performed be Cecilia Askham.


This EPD will be valid for five years from the date of approval, until 2018.

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