Statnett forecasts costlier power looking forward

If Norway continues to curb its energy capacity build-out, the result could be an electricity deficit and higher power prices than in neighboring countries, says Statnett.

Photo: Øivind Haug / Statnett

More electrical capacity must be installed in Norway if the country wants to keep up with increasing demand, reports Norwegian transmission system operator Statnett in its new 2020-2050 market analysis on the Nordics and Europe.

In its analysis, the TSO projects that Norwegian prices will rise more than previous forecasts if the country halts the expansion of domestic electrical capacity.

"With the consumption that informs the basis scenario in our analysis, Norway will incur an electricity deficit and higher power prices compared with our neighboring countries in the absence of new production beyond that which is already under development," Statnett writes.

The TSO expects that, ahead to 2030, there will be plenty of power in the Nordics, but after that time, less thermal generation from nuclear and fossil-fired power plants combined with increased consumption will lead to a capacity imbalance.

"In Norway, we expect significant growth in consumption. This growth is significantly larger than in the preceding analysis both due to electrification plans and new industry," Statnett writes in its report.

According to the TSO, this means an increase from roughly 140 TWh at present to 180-190 TWh in 2040-'50.

The group adds that installing more wind capacity would be prudent considering that the technology is forecast to remain the most economically viable option.

"If we overlook the intervention in nature, this would be the cheapest way to cover the growing need for electricity with further development of onshore wind and hydroelectric power. In our updated analysis, onshore wind will still be profitable without subsidies," Statnett writes.

Statnett says the question of adding more capacity is a political issue – which is especially true in the case of Norway, where the sentiment against new onshore wind installation is pervasive.

Recent years have seen a boom in new wind in Norway, entailing more than just wind turbines added to the landscape – also angry residents. For instance, anti-wind group Motwind [In Norwegian, literally 'against wind' punned with 'headwind', -ed.] has more than 20,000 members.

Motvind has organized several protest actions against the installation of new wind turbines, but the organization has also tried its luck with lawsuits against wind project developers – although as of yet without any success.

English Edit: Daniel Frank Christensen

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