Norwegian-Dutch market coupling
On 12 January 2011, another major step was taken towards a common European electricity market as the Norwegian and Dutch power markets were connected. This means that it will no longer be necessary to purchase capacity explicitly on the NorNed power exchange to trade between Norway and the Netherlands. The solution will ensure the correct flow of power, from low-price areas to high-price areas. The NorNed trading solution is part of a wider initiative to further integrate the European power markets. The next step in this direction was taken on 14 March 2012 when intra-day trading was launched on NorNed.
Hardanger committees presented their reports
On 1 February 2011, four independent committees presented their reports relating to the various aspects of installing a sub-sea cable on some parts of the Sima - Samnanger section. Following the presentation of the committees’ reports and the subsequent consultation round, Statnett received confirmation of the licence decision made by the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy in the summer of 2010, and a licence to start construction of the entire power line. Construction work continued throughout the summer of 2011 and the project is scheduled for completion in 2013.
The power situation winter of 2010/2011
On 16 March 2011, after a very cold and dry winter, Statnett reported that the power situation in Southern Norway was considered strained and that the power situation in Northern Norway and Central Norway was alerted. The reservoirs were drained to historically low levels, despite high import. However, the energy situation improved significantly as a result of mild weather, early snow-melting, precipitation and inflow towards the end of March, and by 20 April the power situation was normal again. The power system functioned generally well in a season characterised by historically low reservoir levels, low temperatures and high consumption. However, Statnett had more operational interruptions than normal during the winter of 2010/2011.
Construction started on interconnector between Norway and Denmark
In the autumn of 2011, construction started on the fourth interconnector between Norway and Denmark, Skagerrak 4. The project is a collaboration between Statnett and the Danish system operator Energinet.dk and is scheduled for completion in 2014. Skagerrak 4 will be profitable due to the combination of Norwegian hydropower and Danish thermal power and wind power and because of the different price structures in the two countries. A new cable between Denmark and Norway will secure a more reliable supply of electricity in Norway, particularly in years with low water levels, whereas the Norwegian regulating ability makes it possible for Denmark to develop more wind power and thus reduce carbon emissions. The interconnector will also facilitate more renewable energy production in Norway.
Grid Plan for the Greater Oslo Area
The main grid in Oslo and the surrounding county of Akershus is old and needs to be updated and reinforced to meet future demands for security of supply, urban development and environmental solutions. The Greater Oslo Grid Plan will ensure that the main grid in Oslo and Akershus is upgraded to provide the Oslo region with a reliable supply of electricity for many years to come. The project was launched on 23 November 2011 at a seminar where work started on identifying energy needs and society’s expectations for the main grid in the Oslo region in the period leading up to 2050. The main grid and the development needs for the Greater Oslo area will be discussed with several organisations, residents’ associations, politicians, businesses, etc. in the entire Oslo region.
Grid for a future-oriented society
On 29 November 2011, Statnett launched its Grid Development Plan which includes investments of between NOK 40 and 50 billion in the next decade. Important factors for the investments are to ensure security of supply in Hordaland and the North of Norway and to help even out price differences between Central Norway and Southern Norway by ensuring sufficient grid capacity. The grid of the future will also facilitate development of renewable energy from Lindesnes to the North Cape, both small-scale hydro power and wind power, and electrification of the petroleum activities and new industrial growth along the coast.
Final decision on Ørskog - Sogndal
On 21 December 2011, Statnett received a final licence from the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy for the construction of a new 420 kV power line from Ørskog in Møre og Romsdal to Sogndal in Sogn og Fjordane. Statnett previously received a licence for construction on parts of this section.A new power line between Ørskog and Sogndal is essential for security of supply to North-Western Norway and Central Norway. The line will also facilitate the realisation of several renewable energy projects currently on hold in Sogn og Fjordane and at Sunnmøre. Furthermore, it will facilitate new business and industrial growth in the region.
The storm Dagmar
On 25 and 26 December 2011, the storm Dagmar caused power outages in large areas of Western and Eastern Norway. Interruptions for end-users were mainly caused by faults in the regional and distribution grid, with the exception of the power line to Nyhamna (Aukra). A power system with substantial distributed production and systematic utilisation of it, helped prevent more numerous and extensive outages. The storm was challenging for Statnett, but was handled in a satisfactory manner. The evaluation work following the Dagmar storm will be included in Statnett’s continuous evaluation work following incidents and drills.
The first of several hundred million green certificates issued
On 8 February 2012, Statnett issued the first of approximately 200 million renewable energy certificates, or green certificates. The first certificate went to Kvassteinåga power station in Vefsn in Nordland County. Green certificates are part of a common Swedish-Norwegian technology-neutral, market-based support scheme which support new renewable power production the first 15 years of production. The aim of the scheme is to make it more profitable to invest in power production based on renewable energy sources, such as hydropower, wind power, solar power and bioenergy. The Norwegian-Swedish green certificate market aims to trigger 26.4 TWh of renewable energy production in Norway and Sweden by 2020.
Building Norway - Grid report presented
On 2 March 2012, Minister of Petroleum and Energy Ola Borten Moe presented the grid report ”Building Norway – about grid developments”. In this report the Norwegian government presents proposals for grid developments and investments. The report emphasised that after many years of efficiency improvements and moderate investments in the national transmission gird, it is now very important to increase capacity and rebuild some sections of the grid. Grid developments must be one step ahead, as the critical importance of electricity means that the consequences of not building enough grid are higher than the consequences of overinvestment. The report also stressed the need for a more efficient licensing process.