In a letter of 9 November 2010, the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy requested that Statnett further assess and apply for a submarine cable alternative on the Ørskog – Store Standal (Ørsta) section in Sunnmøre. Furthermore, Statnett was asked to consider new alternatives in Bremanger and apply for a licence for the previously assessed alternative routes in Flora, Naustdal, Førde and Jølster in Sogn og Fjordane. 

An assessment of the subsea cable alternative has shown that the alternative will be technically possible, but with an added cost of approx. NOK 2.4 million compared with the licensed overhead alternative. With this cost increase, the measure is not considered socio-economically profitable based on the expected utility value. 

- Statnett is working to realise the alternative of an overhead line, scheduled for completion in 2015. If a subsea cable is chosen, the project is expected to be ready for commissioning in 2016 at the earliest. But Statnett has chosen to apply for this alternative to give the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy, affected property owners and municipalities a wide basis for making their decision,’ says Executive Vice President Håkon Borgen, Statnett.

Statnett is also applying for a licence for a new 420/132 kV transformer station in Sykkylven municipality including demolishing of the existing 132 kV line Ørskog – Sykkylven – Haugen, as well as the current Sykkylven transformer station at Haugset. The new 420 kV line will mainly run along the same route as the current 132 kV line, and the existing overhead line crossing the Hjørundfjorden and Storfjorden will be replaced.

- A solution of a subsea and earth cable between Ørsta and Ørskog will benefit Sykkylven primarily, while Ørsta will experience disproportionately large interventions compared with neighbouring municipalities. For Statnett, it is important to look at the big picture of the project and for this reason we recommend an overhead line. A new station in Sykkylven will also provide opportunities for new value creation for local industry,’ Borgen stresses.

In the additional application which relates to changes in Sogn og Fjordane, Statnett has applied for a licence for new route solutions for the sections: Endevatnet – Moskog in Flora, Naustdal, Førde and Jølster municipalities. 

After having assessed new routes in the section Åskåra – Hjelmevatnet in Bremanger municipality as well as a new transformer station at Åskåra power plant in Bremanger, it has proven very difficult to find technically acceptable solutions for this section as the routes in the mountains will cross climatically very challenging areas, with an unacceptable low availability. 

- Alternative solutions which will avoid the areas which are worst from a climate point of view, will to a lesser degree reduce interventions in Førdedalen and in this way not cover the task set by the MPE,’ explains Håkon Borgen.

Furthermore, impact assessments conducted of the proposed solutions have shown that the new alternatives will generate more conflict in most areas than the alternatives for which Statnett has already applied for a licence. Statnett has chosen not to apply for licences for new solutions for this section.

A possible relocation of the transformer station at Åskåra power station will require a disproportionately large amount of foundation and landslide prevention work and is considered by the consequence analysts to entail significant disadvantages for the landscape and natural environment. Statnett has not applied for a licence for this alternative either.

- Getting in place a new 420 Kv line between Ørskog in Sunnmøre and Fardal (Sogndal) in Sogn og Fjordane is especially important for ensuring a secure supply of electricity to Central Norway and realising the renewable projects currently on hold in Sogn og Fjordane and in Sunnmøre. In Sogn og Fjordane alone there are over 100 projects waiting to be processed by the NVE, and in Sunnmøre the number is over 30,’ Borgen concludes.