From need to planning

It is our task to plan the development and improvement of power transmission installations (stations, power lines and cables) within Norway and across Norwegian borders. Planning work is triggered by important needs, such as:

  • cases where existing installations are old and need to be upgraded or replaced to ensure reliable supply
  • increases in power consumption, which demand an increase in transmission capacity
  • power generation increasing in one area, necessitating solutions for transferring it to other areas

Big projects demand careful examination

Once a need has been identified, work starts to gather information and analyse different solutions to establish the best way to cover the need. This is known as concept evaluation. We then send our concept evaluation to the Norwegian Ministry of Energy (ED), which grants us permission to send a notification to the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate (NVE). This notification is the result of our work to determine where new cable routes can be established – often in partnership with any other affected parties. The NVE sends our notification to a public hearing, and makes sure that all statements and opinions are collected and evaluated.

On the basis of the hearing, the NVE draws up an assessment programme which describes the options and environmental topics whose consequences we need to establish (environmental impact assessment) before applying for permission (a licence) to build and operate the installation. For additional information about our environmental work, see our website about the environment and climate

In the environmental impact assessment, we evaluate how the various options for routing power lines compare to each other, so as to identify the best overall option. This assessment is also to provide NVE with sufficient information to decide whether to grant the project a licence, which solution is to be awarded the licence, and which requirements are to be made on us with regard to the actual execution of the project.

Licence application – our construction application

We draw up licence applications in accordance with the Norwegian Energy Act. The scope and content of the application vary depending on the size of the measure, and we can apply for licences for one or more options. At the same time as we apply for a licence, we normally also apply for permission to expropriate. The NVE sends our licence application to a public hearing, and holds meetings about the application with local authorities. They may also ask us to prepare supplementary reports.

For minor measures, the NVE normally makes a decision on the basis of our application, findings from the hearing, and its own assessments. In cases where the decision of the NVE is appealed, the ED makes the final decision. For major measures, the NVE submits a recommendation to the ED. The ministry then sends this recommendation to a hearing, and prepares the case for the King in Council, who makes the final decision.

The energy authorities often make awarding us the licence conditional upon our implementing environmental measures. For major projects, we also prepare an Environment, Transport and Construction Plan (ETCP), which describes how we propose to show consideration for environmental values and affected parties, and how we plan to meet the terms and conditions laid down in the licence and the prevailing legislation.