When electricity first arrived in Norway towards the end of the 1870s, it was for internal use in companies. Power had to be transmitted in step with street lighting, steam power stations or trams. In Hammerfest the first power line, which was 1.8 kilometres long, was established in 1891. In 1897, Hafslund power company established a power line, which was 15 kilometres long. In 1894, an act was introduced which gave the Norwegian state the right to enforce regulations on the power producers.
Electricity in homes
As Norwegian society developed, it was necessary to transmit power over increasingly longer distances. Electricity was installed in private homes in the most populated areas, but energy sources were located further away. The first district transmission was established in 1922. In the 1920s, the Norwegian state built Nore Power Station in Numedal to supply more electricity to Eastern Norway. In 1932, the government coordination association Samkjøringen was established.
We are building Norway
After the Second World War, several coordinating initiatives emerged both in Northern and Western Norway. The Norwegian state played an increasingly important role in operation and development. The Main Grid Commercial Agreement was established in 1959 and the coordination of power production (Samkjøringen) in 1970. Norway got its first connectors to Sweden in 1960. Several major power developments also took place, such as the hydropower development of the Aurland watercourse in the 1970s. Consumption increased.
Time to modernise
As consumption increased, it became important to establish a better balance between consumption. In 1986, the state-owned power stations Statskraftverkene were separated from the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate, and in 1992 Statkraftverkene were divided into Statkraft (production) and Statnett (grid). In the 1990s, the power market was furthered developed. First, Statnett Market was established in 1993, then a Swedish-Norwegian power market was established in 1996, followed by a Nordic market in 2000, which served as a model for Europe in the 2000s.
Our vision is formed
From 2009, plans were developed for the next generation main grid. This entailed a major expansion of the power grid and extensive updates. There were many drivers, such as aging facilities and higher expected consumption due to population growth and industrial growth. Furthermore, production of renewable energy must be facilitated, partly stimulated by the introduction of green certificates in 2012. Climate change and a changing weather pattern also highlight the need for a more robust grid in Norway, and between Norway and our neighbouring countries.
Building has started
There is a change of pace. The plans for the next generation main grid are now being realised. The length of power lines that have been approved for development has increased from 10 to 400 kilometres in one year. This includes Sima-Samnanger in Western Norway and Ørskog-Sogndal in Central Norway. Construction is also ongoing on the Skagerrak 4 interconnector to Denmark. In parallel with this, Statnett of the future is being developed with new offices in Trondheim in 2012 and new headquarters in Nydalen in 2013, combined with the required organisational updates.
Some green objectives are realised
On 1 January 2012, the green certificate scheme was introduced in Norway and Sweden. The scheme will stimulate the development of more renewable energy, predominantly wind power and small-scale power. Norway and Sweden aim to trigger 26.4 TWh of renewable energy production by 2020. 2020 also represents an important milestone for EU’s objective of achieving a 20 per cent reduction in carbon emissions, a 20 per cent share of energy consumption from renewable sources and 20 per cent improved energy efficiency.
The specific plan
The annual Grid Development Plan is Statnett’s management tool. It provides more specific details about the development plans and the timing of them. Statnett is planning to invest between NOK 40 and 50 billion in the next decade. This includes building and remodelling 60 transformer stations and constructing 3 – 4 000 kilometres of power lines. The plan also involves strengthening the energy supply in Northern Norway by 2021. In the same period, four new interconnectors will be established; to Denmark, Sweden, Germany and the UK.
Grid of the future
2030 is a long way off. However, Statnett aims to make as accurate prognoses as possible about population, consumption and production developments, and to use these in the company’s energy supply planning. One example of such prognoses is the 2011 Grid Plan for the Greater Oslo area. Our aim for 2030 is that all regions will have a robust grid which facilitates sound climate solutions and nationwide value creation and, not least, maintains a reliable supply of electricity.
A global target is reached
According to the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, greenhouse gas emissions must be reduced from 12 to two tonnes per person by 2050. Norway has adopted this target. To be able to meet the target, our share of renewable energy must improve significantly. We are on the brink of an energy revolution, where much of our society, including the transport sector, turns to electricity. Statnett will contribute by paving the way for more renewable energy, in Norway as well as in our neighbouring countries.
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Next generation main grid
The next generation main grid is a plan to upgrade and invest in new grid capacity to meet society’s future energy needs. Statnett will update the grid and construct new power lines to strengthen the grid infrastructure in Norway and secure the backbone of the Norwegian power system.
The grid of the future is necessary to improve security of supply, to achieve better climate solutions and to create value. We have started to build the next generation main grid because security of supply is strained in many parts of the country, and because Norway has a great potential for increased value creation if we build a stronger main grid and because a new main grid will facilitate better climate solutions.
The Grid Development Plan
In our annual Grid Development Plan, we establish our ambitions and what investments we will make to secure the supply of electricity to Norwegian consumers, facilitate Norwegian climate policies and promote value creation. In the coming decade, Statnett is planning to invest NOK 40-50 billion in grid updates and development.
This includes construction of new international interconnectors. This is positive as greater variations in precipitation, inflow and temperatures mean that Norway and the other Nordic countries will have an even larger surplus in a normal year. Price differences also make trading with Europe profitable for Norway. Moreover, new international interconnectors will help reduce carbon emissions on the Continent.
The grid of the future
The grid of the future will be able to handle fluctuations in power supply and consumption and different development scenarios. A solid infrastructure means we will be able to handle more unforeseen events and new development trends.
An upgraded main grid will improve security of supply and provide a more stable power market. Furthermore, the grid of the future will facilitate more renewable power generation from Lindesnes to the North Cape, including small-scale hydro power and wind power, as well as electrification of the petroleum industry and new industrial growth along the coast.