Smart thinking for the future

Smart thinking for the future

Smart Grid is all about developing a cost-efficient power system which can handle current and future challenges. New technology and new solutions are key aspects of the power system of the future.

Smart Grid, or intelligent power grids, is a term used to describe how to dynamically design, develop and operate an electrical infrastructure and communication structure to achieve a more efficient powersystem.

“Intelligent power grids provide us with enormous amount of data, which we must use in a smart way. By doing so we will achieve improved reliability and better supply quality,” Løvlund says.

New challenges

Løvlund thinks the Norwegian power grid is already pretty smart. However, the Norwegian main grid is also facing a number of new challenges, such as integration of wind farms and small-scale power into the power grid. This means that the power in the Norwegian power system will more frequently flow in different directions, and that operations will be based on real-time data instead of historic data.

“Major power system investments will be necessary to meet the future challenges. New, smart solutions can contribute towards a more efficient use of the system, in a controlled manner, and may supplement construction at all grid levels,” Løvlund says.

The higher the electric share of the energy consumption, the more dependent we become on a power system that can respond to the increase in electricity consumption in a secure and reliable manner. Use of new technology and development of new solutions constitute a key part of the power system of the future.

Stig Løvlund, head of Statnett’s Smart GridR&D programme

Focus on better information

The Smart Grid programme is currently focussing on four particular technology areas, which will provide Statnett and other power industry players with better information about the state of the power system.

  • The first is better presentation of the voltage stability in the power system, through better and new data, which will be made available to the grid operators.
  • The second is automated fault analysis, which can prevent faults before they occur, or correct faults automatically.
  • The third is electronic analysis of the Norwegian power system every ten minutes, which will enhance reliability, provide better documentation of risk scenarios and improve risk reporting to the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate (NVE).
  • The fourth area involves use of flexible consumption load, whic hwill contribute towards handling strained system operation situations. This will be done in collaboration with other power industry players at various grid levels to promote efficient, operational tools.


Pilot project in northern Norway

Statnett aims to implement the results from the various R&D projects and to test solutions and applications in operation in the power system. To do so, a pilot project has been established in northern Norway. The purpose of the project is to validate the results from the R&D projects to determine whether they can help improve the operational planning and ensure optimum power system operation.

The pilot project is a national development platform for testing and qualification of new solutions and applications that can beused for long-term planning, operational planning and electronic operation ofthe power system.

R&D initiatives with close ties to operations

The pilot project in northern Norway will run until 2016, whereas the Smart Grid programme is scheduled to be completed and evaluated in 2014. R&D is an important strategic tool for Statnett. A significant part of the execution ability is supplied by collaboration with resources in the line organisation. Ordinarily, Stig Løvlund heads the regional control centre in northern Norway, but he is also responsible for Statnett’s Smart Grid programme.

“The Smart Grid programme is highly suitable for what we do in northern Norway. We need new tools, which means we can quickly adopt new solutions, whilst also working on solutions for the future,” Løvlund says.

Text: Morten Myrstad Photo:Statnett

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