Hydroelectric power potentials in Greenland

The rain and snow that falls in the mountains or on the inland ice sheet constitute a power potential. The larger the volumes and the higher up in the mountains the water can be dammed, the greater its potential power.

There are many hydroelectric power potentials in Greenland. There are a lot, particularly in Southwest Greenland, which is so large that it far exceeds the population’s need for electricity.

From around 1975, the Greenland Technical Organisation (GTO) and the then Geological Survey of Greenland, commenced a systematic mapping of Greenland’s hydroelectric power potentials.

In the beginning GTO was interested in the small, local potentials and of the largest hydroelectric power potentials.

At that time, the mining industry was particularly seen as a potential major consumer of energy.

Hydroelectric power plants to supply highly energy intensive industry requires very heavy investment in preliminary studies and plants, and from the late 1970s, GTO saw it less and less as a public task to continue studies of the large industrial potentials. GTO then concentrated its efforts on documenting the smaller, local potentials, where the company had a universal service obligation and secure sales of the energy produced.

While hydroelectric power from time to time was part of the considerations in connection with various mining companies’ exploration, today there is no authority or company that actively promotes Greenland’s other industrial hydroelectric power potentials to international energy intensive companies.

Asiaq  - Greenland Survey, carries out continuous hydrological measurements at a number of selected sites, and in that way gains more and more knowledge about the future potential of a series of Greenland’s yet untapped hydroelectric power resources.