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Statkraft plans large expansion of western Norway hydropower plant

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OSLO (Reuters) - Norway's largest power producer Statkraft is seeking to expand the capacity of its Mauranger hydropower plant in western Norway by 630 megawatt in a bid to increase flexible power generation, it said late on Tuesday.

The licence application request sent to the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate (NVE) seeks to increase the installed capacity of the Mauranger power plant from 250 MW to 880 MW, the state-owned utility said.

This would provide 70-80 gigawatt hours (GWh) of new clean energy, corresponding to the electricity consumption of 5,000 households, it added.

"We expect that in the future, there will be an increased need for more flexibility and capacity," Statkraft's Chief Executive Christian Rynning-Toennesen said.

The project mainly seeks to add capacity, with the plant to balance an expected rise in intermittent generation, especially from offshore wind, a spokesperson told Reuters.

Norway plans to develop 30 GW of offshore wind capacity by 2040.

A recent taxation change has also been beneficial for implementing large projects, with the Mauranger upgrade Statkraft's biggest such project in 40 years, the firm said.

Statkraft said the modernisation represents a "substantial investment" without providing a concrete figure, and envisaged a possible construction start in 2026.

(Reporting by Nora Buli, editing by Terje Solsvik)

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