Population growth in the big cities, the need to upgrade old facilities, increased renewable energy production and industrial growth are among the main reasons Statnett is about to enter a period with a historically high investment level. Statnett has also started to construct two international interconnectors to Germany and the UK, which will contribute to increased value creation and more use of renewable energy in Norway and the rest of Europe.
"Last time we upgraded our infrastructure at a similar scale was when we developed heavy industry and hydropower in Norway. We are now renovating the power system again to facilitate a more secure supply of electric power, more renewable energy and more jobs,” says Borgen.
Over the next five years, Statnett will invest between NOK 40 and 55 billion in the power grid, whereas the estimate for the subsequent five years is around NOK 10–15 billion. This means that the estimated investment level for planned projects for the coming decade is more or less on a par with the level in the previous grid development plan.
In addition to Statnett's planned projects, several known but uncertain needs may trigger a need for further grid investments over the next decade. In particular, this applies to needs addressed in the concept and feasibility studies of grid needs for Nyhamna, increased power consumption in Haugalandet and continued grid development in Northern Norway.
Positive cost development
Statnett is well under way with the announced investment boost and has in recent years implemented several major grid projects. Borgen says that Statnett is now starting to reap the benefits of a long-term effort to develop several suppliers internationally and regionally.
"We are now starting to see the results of our efforts to increase capacity in the supplier market through increased competition and lower costs." A good example of this is the upgrade of the Western Corridor. Beneficial tenders from suppliers, combined with cost-saving technological choices, recently made it possible to reduce the project's cost estimate from NOK 8-10 billion to 7.1-8.5 billion.
Development projects throughout the country put safety and environmental considerations at the top of Statnett's agenda.
"We work systematically to improve. From 2013 until today, we have reduced the number of internal and supplier injuries by 50 per cent, and we work hard every single day to ensure that Statnett is a leading market party within health, safety and the environment," says Borgen.
Faster development plans in Northern Norway
For the first time, Statnett submitted the Grid Development Plan for an external consultative round before it was completed, and more than 50 market parties provided input. Since the plan was submitted for consultation in April 2015, Statnett has e.g. decided to change the schedule for the new power line between Balsfjord and Skaidi, and to make socio-economic assessments of projects for which licence applications are pending or licences appealed more available.
"We have taken into account much of the input, but we are not able to accommodate all. However, I believe that all the input has shown us how we can improve, and that the external consultative round has resulted in a better final result,” says Bente Monica Haaland, Senior Vice President of Strategy and Communications at Statnett.
Martha Hagerup Nilson, Vice President Corporate Communications: +47 971 71 310