This solution has been tested in a pilot project conducted by Statnett over the past two years. Among those taking part in the pilot were organisations such as Entelios, Hydro Energi, Fortum, Skagerak Kraft, Statkraft, Vattenfall, Glitre and Ustekveikja Energi. Each of these enterprises brought in electricity consumers, such as plant nurseries, data centres, batteries and EV charging stations, as well as large-scale industrial operations, such as Elkem and Eramet.  


“Imagine that the power being supplied by a major power plant or via a HVCD-interconnector is unexpectedly interrupted by a fault, causing a sudden shortage of power to consumers. Instead of everyone losing power, plant nurseries, data centres or large industrial companies can agree in advance to disconnect their own consumption in a matter of seconds. In this way, we can prevent the power being cut to a large area,” explains Martha Marie Øberg, who heads the Systems Development Department at Statnett.  


New sources of reserve power  

Statnett has a variety of tools at its disposal to prevent power outages if a fault occurs on the transmission grid between power station and electricity consumer. In addition to the controllable reservoir-based hydropower we already have, the transition to a more climate-friendly energy supply has resulted in a larger volume of power whose generation depends on the weather at that moment, in the form of wind or solar power. At the same time, extensive electrification is taking place, and consumers are using power in a steadily growing number of areas. Together, this ‘green shift’ is making new demands on the power system, and requires new measures to prevent faults and avert power outages.  


One of these measures is the establishment of so-called Fast Frequency Reserves (FFR). These are reserves that can be instantly activated in the event of a major fault in the power supply. Previously, it was the large hydropower plants that typically helped to handle fault incidents. Now, Statnett sees the need for the reserve market to include entities capable of responding even faster. In this year’s pilot project, a total of eight suppliers have offered almost 150 MW of reserve capacity.  


“We have tested and developed a market for FFR services through a variety of pilot and demonstration projects since 2018. We have identified good opportunities to bring in additional market participants, since FFR is largely a matter of speed and output, not energy volume. In other words, there is a need for additional power for a short period, not only large volumes of power over time,” explains Øberg. “The need for such reserves will increase in the years ahead. The transition to a climate-neutral energy system will require more renewable electricity production and cross-border power exchange. We are already seeing situations where wind power and imports furnish a larger proportion of our power consumption. This makes the system vulnerable to serious fault incidents. Such incidents are rare, and FFR is an effective method of securing the supply of electricity when they do occur. That is why we want to increase access of FFR.  


Companies can earn money by contributing to a climate-neutral energy system   

The organisations taking part in the demonstration projects are pleased with the experience. As well as contributing to a secure power supply and climate-friendly solutions, they can also earn additional income.  


“We are participating in the FFR market for the first time this year. We have also brought on board six plant nurseries, one in Nesodden and five in the Stavanger area,” explains Roar Lyngstad, Senior Energy Advisor at Ustekveikja Energi. -Providing balancing services to Statnett is a long way from plant nurseries’ core business, it’s true. And we had several rounds of discussions about whether we should take part in this year’s demonstration market. It has been a challenging but interesting project to put in place.”   


According to Lyngstad, the process has taught them useful lessons that will make it easier to recruit additional relevant suppliers to this market next year.  


“The fact that Statnett has helped reduce the risk for the new market players and pays a fixed seasonal price, made this an interesting business opportunity for both us and the plant nurseries,” he says. “Together, we have therefore spent the spring getting ready to deliver FFR to this year’s market. We have installed and tested the equipment and are now approved for delivery. We hope this year’s experience equips both Ustekveikja and the plant nurseries to participate successfully in this exciting market in 2022 and beyond,” says Lyngstad in conclusion.   


Consultation on market terms and conditions    

Statnett wishes to continue the Fast Frequency Reserves (FFR) market, and is planning to start up in 2022. The consultation on a proposed set of terms and conditions for the FFR market is open. The deadline for comments and submissions is 1 September 2021.  


Further information  

For further information on how to participate in the market for Fast Frequency Reserves (FFR), please contact :  

Read more about the FFR consultation, and submit your comments (the text is in Norwegian)