The two earth cable connections, which date from 1955 and 1977, must be replaced.  Statnett is now initiating assessment work to establish feasible solutions. The assessment will comprise the possibilities of cables in a trench and a tunnel.

- As part of this work, we will survey the Smestad-Sogn area in the weeks to come.  Residents will observe people looking at streets and roads.  They do this to assess whether, and if so where, it is possible to install underground cables.  Subsurface surveys will also be conducted, says project manager Kyrre Nordhagen.

In regards to a potential trench solution, the existing cable route will also be examined. A lot has happened to roads and residential areas since the first cables were installed in the 1950s. Consequently, it is not sure that the route that was chosen then, is the most suitable for the new facility.

- Statnett will make thorough assessments to find solutions that are of as little inconvenience as possible for residents along the section between the Smestad-Sogn substations. What we do know is that there is a lot buried in the ground in this area. This means that there are few opportunities to install cables here, says Nordhagen.

In the event of a licence application for cables in a trench, at least one new route would be necessary. This is because the old cables must be operational to secure power supply while Statnett is installing the new cables.

As regards a potential tunnel solution, test drilling will be necessary in May/ June 2014. The locations for the test drilling have not been decided yet.

- Insofar as possible, we hope to conduct the test drilling on public land, such as roads. If we need to drill on private land, we will contact the landowner well in advance to obtain approval for this. The test drilling will determine whether the land is suitable for a tunnel. This means that if you see us drilling at one location, it does not necessarily mean that there will be a tunnel there, says Nordhagen.

When the assessment work has been completed, Statnett will apply for a licence from the NVE for the Smestad-Sogn cable interconnector.  As part of the NVE's licensing process, a consultation will take place, where all affected parties will have an opportunity to provide comments.  Licences for the energy sector are considered in accordance with the Norwegian Energy Act.

The current owner of the Smestad-Sogn cable interconnector is Hafslund Nett AS. Once the new interconnector is in place, it will be owned by Statnett as part of the main grid.