Do we need power grids in the future? If so, how should they be regulated?

22. June 2017 | News

Digitalisation and new technologies, climate policy and new customer preferences will change the characteristics of the power system. This also means that grid regulations should be adapted to deal with new challenges and to adopt new solutions.

We have analyzed the outlook for the role of the grid in the power system of 2050 using four scenarios. Based on the scenarios we developed a roadmap for the adaptation of grid regulation to ensure safe and affordable energy supply in the long term.

The main certain trends are digitalisation and improved solutions for measurement, analysis and control, which increase the opportunities to consider and adopt new operative solutions, flexibility and other technologies as alternatives to investment in grid capacity.

The most important uncertainty is related to how much grid capacity will be needed in 2050, thus if the planned investments will be relevant in the longer term and whether grid can still be covered by consumers as today.

For all scenarios, four conditions must be considered in the development of grid regulation:• Improve opportunities and strengthen incentives to utilize demand flexibility to reduce peak load consumption and handle fault situations.

  • Improve incentives for innovation and testing of new solutions that can reduce grid investments while maintaining security of supply.
  • Avoid tariff models where grid customers with high load during peak load pay significantly less than other customers. This is important to maintain the current user financing in the long term.
  • Maintain security of data and supply during the process to digitalise the grid.

If consumers go off-grid in the future, become self-sufficient or have very low grid usage, alternative ways to finance the grid have to be developed.

The project was carried out for Energy Norway, KS Bedrift and 6 grid companies. OED and NVE participated as observers.

Download the documents here (in Norwegian):

THEMA notat 2016-12 >> Nettregulering i framtidens kraftsystem?

THEMA Rapport 2016-21 >> Nettregulering i framtidens kraftsystem-hovedrapport

Kort presentasjon >> Nettregulering i framtidens kraftsystem

portrettbilde, forfatter

Kristine Fiksen
Partner
kristine.fiksen@thema.no
+47 402 13 810