Electricity, Economy | Power crisis: Can turn off your power this winter

(Nettavisen 🙂 Statnett is now working on finding measures to secure power supply in Norway this autumn and winter. In the worst case, your power can be turned off for periods.

– For some customers, the degree of security of supply may be somewhat smaller, so that there is a somewhat greater risk of experiencing power outages. With zone-by-switch-off, you will be without power for a few hours, says Statnett’s Executive Vice President for System Operations, Peer Olav Østli to Nettavisen, and emphasizes:
– But this is a situation that only comes after a number of other measures have been put in place to secure the power supply.

Østli says that we in Norway have not had electricity rationing (according to the usual definition) in recent times.

– There has been one case in Northern Norway where, due to errors in the network, we had to introduce zonal disconnection of consumption in 2010, he says.

But we are not there yet. First, other measures will be introduced to prevent Statnett from having to resort to electricity rationing.

Got marching orders

– We have a reservoir filling close to the historical minimum, high prices in the Nordic region, and high gas prices characterize the power market in Europe. That is the reason why we are now asking Statnett to study the need for future measures to handle a very strained power situation, said director of the energy and licensing department at NVE, Inga Nordberg, before the weekend.

The statement came after strong warnings about a power crisis from several quarters. Among other things, from Statnett itself, which sounded the alarm and warned of the danger of electricity rationing, at the same time as power exports from Norway were in full swing (lit’s okay).

– If there is a lower inflow than normal in the next six months and a cold and dry winter, we may need significant net imports to Norway until the snowmelt starts in the spring of 2023. Then there is a risk that Europe’s ability to export power may be affected if the war and the conflict with russia escalate further and there is a rationing of gas in europe. This uncertainty is in addition to the fact that there is always a risk of downtime on one or more of the international connections. As a result, Statnett changed the assessment of the power situation for southern Norway (NO1, NO2 and NO5) in the coming bottling season from normal (green) to tight (yellow), says Østli.

– I emphasize that the producers are not without responsibility. They have a significant social responsibility that they must follow up, and I now expect that they can guarantee that they have followed up this social responsibility, said Minister of Energy Terje Aasland (Labor) before the weekend.

Shut down reserve power plants

– We will now, on behalf of NVE, study measures in the event of a very strained power situation (SAKS). It is too early to say anything concrete about what we will propose, but we would like to point out that we have a number of measures we can implement in advance to avoid ending up in such a situation. We have also said that it is necessary for the power producers to take into account that a situation may arise in the coming tapping season with less opportunity than usual for the import of power, says Østli.

In 2014, Statnett made a larger assessment of instruments for dealing with very strained power situations (SAKS), and made this report. The report said that there would be less risk of electricity rationing towards 2020 and further towards 2030. Statnett thus expected a development towards less risk of a power crisis, and not a development towards the current situation.

Among the important measures in 2014 were the reserve power plants Nyhamna and Tjeldbergodden in Møre- og Romsdal. These gas-fired power plants were to secure extra power to Central Norway (NO3), as the risk was highest that a very strained power situation would arise there. Today, Central Norway is not affected by the high electricity prices, but can still enjoy very low electricity prices. Today, the reserve power plant at Tjeldbergodden has been sold and Nyhamna is about to be sold. Statnett no longer has a license from the authority to use the reserve power plants as SAKS measures. Due to limitations in the power grid, these power plants could not be used to cover the need further south in Norway.

New automated solutions

Thus, Statnett is left with one of the main measures from the 2014 report: Energy options. When purchasing energy options, Statnett will pay large electricity consumers not to use electricity for a certain period. Such consumers can be aluminum plants, which use large amounts of electricity in the production of aluminum.

Statnett has also, in collaboration with Tibber and Entelios, looked at how automatic solutions make it possible to use electric cars and panel heaters in private homes and ventilation systems in larger buildings to achieve the necessary balance in the power supply.

If the SAKS measures are still not enough, Statnett must introduce electricity rationing. Statnett will then follow regulations on power rationing (it’s here).

– Could this have been avoided if Norway had used less of the water in the reservoirs to produce electricity for export out of the country?

– It is important to emphasize that most of the electricity produced in Norway is used here at home. Of approx. 77 TWh of electricity produced in Norway in 2022, around 7 TWH have been exported. It is the producers’ responsibility to dispose of water so that power can be supplied at all times, and we have therefore given notice that it is important that the power producers include the uncertainty surrounding possible imports in the autumn and winter, says Østli.

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