There will be extensive construction activity over the next few years. The company has made investment decisions for most of its development projects planned for the period up to 2020. Several projects are also under construction. This means there is little uncertainty regarding the investment level during this period.
"Last year we invested nearly NOK 5 billion in the power grid. We built nearly 140 kilometres of power lines, five substations were completed and several other stations were expanded. We are ramping up for a period of historically high development activity. During the period 2016-2020, we will build more than 1000 kilometres of power lines, approximately 1350 kilometres of cables and start constructing 20 new substations,” says executive vice president Håkon Borgen in Statnett.
"We will build socio-economically efficient grid facilities, and we work hard to find the most efficient solutions. We must identify the right projects and build each project in the right way. A systematic and targeted technological development, qualification and standardisation will improve our ability to build in a safe and cost-effective manner. At the same time, we are able to reduce costs by developing expert procurement teams and incerasing the number of competitive suppliers," says Borgen.
HSE considerations, new power production and changed consumption may impact plans.
Statnett is also working on a comprehensive HSE action plan, which may impact the timing of the projects.
"One measure is to be more present at the construction sites, with our own staff. Postponing projects is a relevant measure to free up resources for this. Fewer concurrent building activities will also reduce the HSE risk and facilitate better control for each kilometre of construction," says Borgen.
Decisions regarding new power production will also affect the grid plans in the years ahead. The deadline to join the electricity certificate market expires in 2021, and for many renewable energy projects, it is important to participate in this market.
"Efficient coordination between planning and investment decisions for new production and grid facilities is essential to succeed with predictable and efficient development of both," Borgen points out.
"There is now insufficient time to establish major new facilities by 2021, beyond those that have already been planned. If anyone has plans that will lead to minor transmission grid measures, they must notify us during the course of the year.”
Furthermore, major changes in consumption may affect the need for new power lines.
Greater investment uncertainty after 2020
The need for investments after 2020 is more uncertain.
"We will have ongoing development projects to ensure a reliable supply of electricity and to facilitate power trading between various areas, but we expect the investment level to be somewhat lower than at present," says Borgen.
“New power market models, new technology and the introduction of smart electricity meters are examples of changes that may occur. These changes will affect the need for new power lines in the long term.”
Developments in the other Nordic countries are also important for the Norwegian power grid.
"Stronger collaboration between the national grid companies in the Nordic region will affect how we plan and operate the power grid," Borgen concludes.