Grid report for the future
Statnett will develop the next generation main grid, a plan endorsed by the Norwegian government. This emerges from a White Paper to the Norwegian parliament, presented in March 2012
The title of the report is "Building Norway – about grid developments", also referred to as the Grid Paper. In addition to endorsing main grid developments, the Norwegian government also emphasizes more efficient decision-making processes for new grid projects.
According to the government’s assessments, the consequences of building too few power lines are greater than the consequences of overinvestment. Furthermore, the government has pointed out that although the planning and licensing process for power lines will still be an extensive and thorough process, the processing time must be reduced.
Changing the process
For Statnett progress of the power grid developments is also important.
"We are are looking forward to changes that improves the social processes, whilst also reducing the processing time. Statnett will contribute by entering into constructive dialogues with affected parties in early phases and throughout the entire project development," says Executive Vice President of Statnett, Gunnar G. Løvås.
The White paper proposes changes to the decision-making process. For instance, the Norwegian government would like to see political involvement at an early stage and to raise the power of decision to the level of the King in Council. The Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate will remain the main energy authority for the licensing process. In addition, an external third party will review the project before it is submitted to the authorities. The government has pointed to the importance of grid companies involving stakeholders and affected parties at an early stage, to ensure that they have the opportunity to take part in the entire process.
More capacity in existing power lines
A substantial part of Statnett’s projects involves upgrading power lines to a higher voltage level, where power lines are constructed in or along existing routes. The report states that it is positive if the grid companies can come up with solutions which will increase transmission capacity without major additional disruptions, such as voltage upgrades.
Power trading is important for Norway
The Grid Paper also argues in favour of interconnectors: Power trading is important for security of supply in Norway. It contributes to efficient utilisation and helps protect the value of Norwegian hydropower. "In addition to the extensive investments we are planning to make in the domestic grid, Statnett is also planning to increase the capacity between Norway and other countries. We are therefore pleased that the Grid Paper endorses socio-economically profitable interconnectors," Løvås says.