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News Article | April 26, 2017

Last year, Michael Liebreich, founder and chairman of the advisory board for Bloomberg New Energy Finance, stood in front of a packed room at BNEF ‘s Future of Energy Global Summit and spoke about the record investment in clean energy in 2015. The streak would not last. Global investment in clean energy in 2016 was down 17 percent overall, according to BNEF, driven by the slowdown of the Chinese economy and technology cost reductions. Despite the global downturn of cleantech investment in 2016 and concerns about changing political winds in the U.S., decarbonization is happening and momentum is accelerating on various fronts, according to Liebreich and others at this year's Future of Energy summit. This decidedly upbeat outlook was driven by the economics of renewables. Cost considerations by both utilities and customers are driving adoption of clean energy all over the world. Renewable energy installations are up in 2016 overall and investment in renewables out-invests fossil fuels by two to one. “This is not alternative energy,” said Liebreich. Green bonds, a market nonexistent about a decade ago, will be $123 billion this year according to BNEF, and could reach $150 billion, according to the Climate Bonds Initiative. Last November, Bank of America launched a single $1 billion green bond, nearly double the size of its previous bond of $600 million in 2015, and it underwrites scores of others. “We practice what we preach,” said Raymond Wood, managing director and global head of power, utilities and renewables at Bank of America. Beyond investment, the decoupling of the American economy from energy use also means that the U.S. is halfway to meeting its near-term Paris climate goals, according to Liebreich. As the U.S. has decarbonized, electricity and gas prices are down 20 percent in the past eight years, he noted. Liebreich wasn’t the only one with a positive view. “Maybe we should approach this and say the glass is half full,” said Michael Bloomberg, billionaire and former New York mayor, of action on climate change while pitching his new book, Climate of Hope, co-written with former Sierra Club executive director Carl Pope. The next four to eight years will provide “an age of plenty on steroids,” Liebreich said of the energy landscape. Cheap wind, solar, gas, coal and oil are a reality across much of the globe and energy storage costs are falling. Simply put: energy efficiency technologies and falling costs of renewables can drive decarbonization based on economics, and changes at the federal level in the U.S. will have limited impact, many at the summit argued. But cheap everything can also complicate the ability to radically decarbonize growing global economies. “It doesn’t matter how much you turn up the renewables knob; it’s very difficult to remove the last fossil fuels,” said Liebreich. That is particularly true in some developing nations where coal is still coming on-line at an impressive clip. Even so, in India, for example, some solar projects are coming in with prices cheaper than coal already. In developed nations, the key will be turning electricity capacity markets into demand-led flexibility markets, asserts Liebreich. The problem with capacity markets, as most are structured, is that they can lead to over-provisioning with inflexible load and are not incentivized to reduce peak demand. The conversation on energy market reform is already happening in some places, but there is still a long way to go. “We need to work harder on the markets and then let the markets do the work,” said Auke Lont, CEO of Statnett, Norway’s grid operator. Even with the monumental challenge of electricity market reform worldwide, significantly decarbonizing the electricity sector is probably the easy part. To meet Paris climate goals, everything else -- and transportation in particular -- needs to decarbonize. On the personal transportation front, Liebreich is also upbeat, though. “We’re very bullish,” he said. In particular, he said that once the sticker price of an electric vehicle is the same as an internal combustion engine vehicle, EVs and plug-in hybrids could meet 40 percent market share of new vehicles within five years. BNEF estimates that happening between 2025 and 2030. “This stuff can change fast,” he said.

News Article | May 6, 2017

The Brexit spotlight swung last week away from the familiar cast of bankers quitting the City and coffee-shop chains worried about recruiting staff to the fate of the energy industry tasked with powering the economy when the UK leaves the EU. The loudest warnings came from MPs, peers, engineers and the industry itself over the impact that blocks to trade or freedom of movement would have on the nuclear and oil sectors. However, the UK’s departure from the union also risks damaging urgent efforts to make the continent’s energy systems greener and more efficient, an adviser to the head of the United Nations has told the Observer. Rachel Kyte, special representative on sustainable energy to UN secretary general António Guterres, said anything that hampered the global switch to lower carbon power would be regrettable. “Brexit is at best a distraction, at worst a disruption of the need to continue to drive energy productivity across the UK and Europe – of having a much less energy-intensive economy and getting more productivity from each unit of energy, of having a cleaner energy system, of having much less use of carbon-intensive fuels,” said Kyte. The former World Bank executive highlighted the increasing amount of renewable energy generation in the UK, which had led to what she branded “breakthroughs”, such as the country’s grid recently going a whole day without coal power. As Europe gets an increasing amount of power from wind, solar and hydro, Kyte said it was vital that Brexit did not harm the growing number of interconnector cables being built. “We are seeing the beginnings of a highly interconnected European market and there are benefits to the UK of being part of that, so one hopes that interconnectedness will not be affected,” she said. From the power that keeps Britain’s homes lit to the crude that keeps its cars running, here is how Brexit could affect the energy sector: At least eight cables are being laid under the sea or through the Channel Tunnel to trade power between the UK, Ireland, France, Belgium, Denmark and Norway, tripling the existing number of UK interconnectors. Billions of pounds are committed to the projects under way, and ones even further afield have been mooted, such as a cable to bring Iceland’s volcanic power to the UK. The government hopes these interconnectors will continue to operate post-Brexit, and wants more beyond those planned already. “The ambitions are to go higher,” business secretary Greg Clark recently told MPs, citing a UK-France connector approved in February as a sign that leaving the EU was not affecting investor confidence. A UK that is more reliant on the variable nature of wind and solar power would make such interconnectivity with other countries even more important, he said. Key to the future prospects for interconnectors will be whether the UK continues as a member of the EU internal energy market, in a similar fashion to Norway. Alternatives include tracking the EU regime without any formal arrangement, or striking a series of bilateral arrangements similar to those Switzerland has made with the bloc. Being outside the EU market would be worse, according to experts. Silke Goldberg, a lawyer at Herbert Smith Freehills, said: “While the UK government is supportive of interconnectors, there are some concerns among investors that the economic case for new interconnectors in the Channel may be affected if the UK is not part of the internal energy market and electricity imports are subject to trade tariffs.” Those building the cables, which are made from vast amounts of copper, appear undeterred. “As long as there is a need on both sides to do trade, there is not really a worst case I can see, as the interest is on both sides,” said Auke Lont, head of the Norwegian state grid operator Statnett, which is building the world’s longest undersea cable between the Norway and the UK. The North Sea Link interconnector is expected to mostly be used for exporting hydro power from Norway to the UK when complete in 2020, after Brexit, but will also export surplus wind power from Britain in the other direction. “The moral of the story is there is enough economic interest on both sides that it will easily withstand the fact that the UK now leaves the EU,” Lont said. The nuclear industry potentially stands to lose the most from leaving the EU. Buried in the small print of Theresa May’s Brexit bill in January was the news that Britain would quit a vital atomic power treaty: Euratom, which underpins the transport of nuclear fuel and other materials across Europe. Last week saw a flurry of warnings from the industry, MPs and peers over the consequences of that decision. The nuclear trade body raised the prospect of disruption across the industry if alternatives are not in place within two years, urging ministers to avoid a “cliff edge”. Tom Greatrex, chief executive of the Nuclear Industry Association, said the difficulty was not the technicalities of putting in place new cooperation agreements with nuclear states or new inspection regimes for nuclear material, but the time window imposed by the article 50 process. “It’s an extremely pressing timeframe,” he told the Observer. “We’ve already lost three months by the time the general election is factored in.” Britain quitting the treaty has also raised doubts over the future of its involvement in research and development on nuclear fusion, a cleaner form of atomic power. The Joint European Torus (JET), a fusion research project at Culham in Oxfordshire, receives £50m a year from Euratom. But the current contract runs out in 2018, halfway through Brexit talks. One way for the UK’s nuclear industry to get back on the front foot after leaving would be to focus on a new generation of mini-reactors, according to a leading engineering body. “Pushing ahead on the demonstration and commercialisation of small modular reactors would be a key way for the UK to once again become a world leader in the field,” said Jenifer Baxter, head of energy and environment at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. But delays to a government competition to develop such reactors do not bode well. The government has given no hints on whether it will retain membership of the EU’s flagship climate change regime, the Emissions Trading System. The carbon market currently costs industries such as oil, cement, and steel just under €5 per tonne of carbon they emit. The oil and gas industry are among the sectors seeking clarity on whether the UK will stay or go. Some experts think the market’s links to EU institutions may mean an exit is inevitable. “The government has not announced plans to leave the ETS, although disputes are handled by the European court of justice, which may be a red line,” said the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit thinktank. When Nick Hurd, the climate minister, was recently asked if the UK had an alternative lined up to the ETS, he said: “We’re analysing it, as you’d expect us to do.” An obvious time to leave would be before the current phase of the scheme ends in 2019. On green energy, Clark maintains no decision has been taken on whether the UK will stick to the EU’s renewable energy directive after leaving the union. But government sources have said that after Brexit the UK will probably scrap the EU target to get 15% of all energy from renewable sources by 2020. That would seem likely if the Tories win the general election. The UK has lobbied Europe in recent years in favour of carbon-cutting targets and against ones for renewables, to leave ministers free to pursue their preference to largely use new nuclear to meet climate goals, rather than wind or solar. The big post-EU concern for the UK’s ailing oil and gas industry is the prospect of new tariffs being imposed. Industry body Oil & Gas UK warned last week that a hard Brexit, falling back on World Trade Organisation rules, would see trading costs almost double from £600m a year to £1.1bn because of changing tariff rates. At best, trading costs might go down £100m if the UK can strike more favourable deals outside the UK. In a letter to Theresa May, the industry also stressed the international nature of its workforce, and called on the government to prioritise “frictionless access to markets and labour” during Brexit talks.

Myllys M.,University of Helsinki | Myllys M.,Finnish Meteorological Institute | Viljanen A.,Finnish Meteorological Institute | Rui O.A.,Statnett | Ohnstad T.M.,Statnett
Journal of Space Weather and Space Climate | Year: 2014

We have derived comprehensive statistics of geomagnetic activity for assessing the occurrence of geomagnetically induced currents (GIC) in the Norwegian high-voltage power grid. The statistical study is based on geomagnetic recordings in 1994-2011 from which the geoelectric field can be modelled and applied to a DC description of the power grid to estimate GIC. The largest GIC up to a few 100 A in the Norwegian grid occur most likely in its southern parts. This follows primarily from the structure of the grid favouring large GIC in the south. The magnetic field has its most rapid variations on the average in the north, but during extreme geomagnetic storms they reach comparable values in the south too. The ground conductivity has also smaller values in the south, which further increases the electric field there. Additionally to results in 1994-2011, we performed a preliminary estimation of a once per 100 year event for geoelectric field by extrapolating the statistics. We found that the largest geoelectric field value would be twice the maximum in 1994-2011. Such value was actually reached on 13-14 July 1982. © M. Myllys et al., Published by EDP Sciences 2014.

Vanfretti L.,Statnett | Sevilla F.R.S.,KTH Royal Institute of Technology
IEEE PES Innovative Smart Grid Technologies Conference Europe | Year: 2015

This paper presents a three-layer voltage stability index computed using time-series obtained from dynamic simulations. The proposed index provides the distance with respect to voltage and power limits. Voltage, active and reactive power signals, which are determined using time series from dynamic simulations, are used to compute the index. The methodology assumes that no other information about the system (model) is available. A set of 3 different simulations at different loading levels and a given contingency are required to calculate the index. In the first layer, a two-element vector indicates if a power or a voltage limit was violated. In the second layer, a vector is used to specify which power and voltage loading level was violated and finally, in the third layer a matrix is used to retrieve precise information about which power and voltage limit has been violated in pre- or post-contingency. The index can analyze simultaneously different buses. The proposed index is illustrated using synthetic data and then tested using timedomain simulations on the KTH-Nordic32 system. © 2014 IEEE.

Lelekakis N.,Monash University | Wijaya J.,Monash University | Martin D.,University of Queensland | Susa D.,Statnett
IEEE Electrical Insulation Magazine | Year: 2014

Utilities need to understand the aging of paper insulation in order to prolong the life of transformers. If the paper becomes severely degraded, it loses its mechanical strength and thus its ability to insulate the windings. © 2006 IEEE.

Kishor N.,Aalto University | Haarla L.,Aalto University | Turunen J.,Statnett | Larsson M.,ABB | Mohanty S.R.,Motilal Nehru National Institute of Technology
IET Generation, Transmission and Distribution | Year: 2014

Using wide area monitoring systems (WAMS) offers a possibility for an integrated measurement-based and model-based control, which suits to the operation of large electric power system (EPS), along with online analysis. This study presents studies on fixed-order controller design through model identification approach with use of synchronous measurement data. Firstly, in the study, the coherent generator in each area of large EPS is determined by the mutual information theory. Then, state-space two-input two-output model is identified for the generator that has highest participation factor and thus referred as coherent generator. The model identification algorithms; least-square, instrumental variable and subspace state-space based generalised Poisson moment function are used. Next, WAMS level model is identified between the input controllable variable and speed deviation difference of coherent generator of each area. Finally, a local controller (decentralised) in each coherent area and a centralised controller at WAMS level between two coherent areas are designed by optimisation of the several design functions; H∞ norm, H2 norm, spectral abscissa and complex stability radius, as much as possible. These controllers feed supplementary control signal in addition to one fed by local conventionally tuned power system stabiliser. The centralised controller at WAMS level is demonstrated to stabilise the speed deviations of each generator between any two areas in the large EPS. The study is investigated with different input signal variables; ΔVref, ΔPm excited by different pattern of disturbances. © The Institution of Engineering and Technology 2014.

Aigner T.,Norwegian University of Science and Technology | Jaehnert S.,Norwegian University of Science and Technology | Doorman G.L.,Norwegian University of Science and Technology | Gjengedal T.,Statnett
IEEE Transactions on Sustainable Energy | Year: 2012

The ongoing development in the electrical system and the transition from a mainly thermal dominated power system into a system widely affected by renewable production resources, requires a revision of future balancing strategies facilitating the secure integration of renewable energy. Especially the increasing wind power penetration with its uncertain production on all time scales will largely affect the system operation, requiring a higher flexibility and thus more reserve capacity providing balancing energy. Based on high resolution numerical weather prediction models and wind speed measurements, the actual and the forecasted wind power production is simulated for five scenarios covering the years 2010 and 2020. These scenarios are taken as an input to a Northern European regulating power market model, analyzing the procurement of reserve capacity and their activation. Further on, the potential benefit of integrating Northern European regulating power markets handling the varying wind power production is investigated. Due to remaining wind forecast errors, more reserve capacity is required in the electrical system. The simulations comprise frequency restoration reserves and replacement reserves. Based on the assumption of an integrated regulating power market, the determined results illustrate that the Nordic power system can provide such reserves at optimal cost. In 2020, an overall cost increase is recognized, concurrently displaying significant saving possibilities by a cross-border procurement of reserve capacity and the exchange of balancing energy. © 2010-2012 IEEE.

News Article | February 27, 2017

Statnett will start construction of the Bjerkreim substation in Rogaland County. The substation will connect the planned wind farms in Bjerkreim to the nationwide main grid.

News Article | August 25, 2016

The Stuxnet computer worm discovered in 2012 set alarm bells ringing in industry and public sector offices all over the world. This very advanced software worm had the ability to infect and disable industrial process control systems. The scary thing was that the worm had crept its way into many of the most common industrial control systems. If a state or a hacker is able to spread malignant software so widely, what can we expect next? The Internet of Things, virtually connecting everything to everyone, is rapidly proliferating to businesses, public sector offices and our homes. How can we defend ourselves against a threat when we don't know what it looks like, or where it will strike next? Researchers at SINTEF are working to find a way of counteracting such threats. They are developing methods that will enable companies and public sector agencies to manage threats and attacks, including those that no-one has thought of. "Society is under pressure from new threat and vulnerability patterns", says Tor Olav Grøtan, a Senior Research Scientist at SINTEF. "Standard approaches involving defence systems based on clear control procedures and responsibility are inadequate when the risk is moving around between a diversity of areas and sectors. There is an urgent need for innovative thought and new approaches", he says. Grøtan is heading the project "New Strains of Society", which is aiming to develop new scientific theories in the field of hidden, dynamic and, what researchers call, "emergent" vulnerabilities. SINTEF's research partners are the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment (FFI), and the University of Tulsa in the USA. Professor Sujeet Shenoi at the University of Tulsa is closely involved. He lectures his students on "ethical hacking", with the aim of raising expertise in the US public sector to the same levels as those possessed by malicious experts and hackers. For the last twenty years, Professor Shenoi has been instructing almost 400 Master's and Doctoral (PhD) students in how to hack into public and private sector networks. The students need security clearance and must undertake to work in the American public sector after they have qualified. With the consent of the owners, the students have penetrated deep into computer systems controlling payment terminals, smart electricity meters, gas pipelines, coal mines and wind farms. They have succeeded every time. "Someone or other, not necessarily us, has the ability to break into any computer system", says Shenoi. "We have to live with this and manage it, and that is why the concept of resilience (the dynamic ability to resist and adapt) is so important", he says. Professor Shenoi sees Norway as an ideal location for the development of such resilience. "Norway is one of the most digital countries in the world", he says. "With a relatively small population of 5.2 million, it can become a whole-world laboratory. This is not easy to achieve in the USA, which is too big and too diverse", he says. SINTEF and its partners are looking into three so-called 'threat landscapes': oil industry activity in the high north, a global pandemic, and ICT systems embedded in critical infrastructure in the oil and electrical power sectors. A workshop was held recently with the aim of addressing vulnerabilities in the energy sector. It was attended by representatives from the Norwegian Ministry of Justice and Public Security, the Norwegian National Security Authority (NSM), the Norwegian Communications Authority (NKOM), the US National Security Agency (NSA), the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate (NVE), the Norwegian Petroleum Safety Authority, research scientists, consultants and businesses. "We were there to test a new method of exposing unknown threats and vulnerabilities, and to prepare a stress test", says Grøtan. "People from the oil and electrical power sectors, who aren't normally thinking on the same wavelength, had the chance to work and reflect on issues together. We will apply this experience as the project progresses as part of our work to develop a stress test method designed to investigate how well an organisation is equipped to handle an unexpected situation", he says. And the need is urgent. In 2014 Statnett and hundreds of other Norwegian energy sector companies were subject to a large-scale hacker attack. They are not alone. All sectors of society are under attack and the number of attacks increases every year. For example, Statoil intercepts 10 million spam e-mails every month. Opening an e-mail attachment is a very common way of allowing malignant software to enter a company's computer systems. Another is when careless employees give system access to subcontractors and other external parties. Explore further: Iran says Duqu malware under 'control'

News Article | December 16, 2015

Someone hacks into the network companies that provide electric power, shutting down their systems. This will knock out the electricity in the entire region supplied by the network company, such as Lyse Elnett in Rogaland, Agder Energi Nett in the Agder counties, or Hafslund Nett, which supplies electricity to 1.5 million people in the Oslo area. A simultaneous attack on several network companies could affect large parts of the country. Trains would stop, planes would not be able to land, there would be no electricity, the water supply would stop and the sewerage system would break down. Hospitals have emergency generators and would manage for a while, but over a longer period of time, this would be critical for life and health. Add a cold winter, and it would not take much imagination to visualise the effects of such an attack. "This is the worst that could happen—a worst case scenario. The consequences for society would be huge", says Ruth Østgaard Skotnes. She is a researcher at the International Research Institute of Stavanger (IRIS) and Centre for Risk Management and Societal Safety (SEROS) at the University of Stavanger. She has recently completed a PhD in safety and security management of electric power supply networks. You may think that this sounds like a scene from an unrealistic disaster movie. "That's not the case", says Skotnes. "We must prepare ourselves for the improbable, and the threat to Norwegian energy providers is very much a reality." This is according to reports from, among others, the Norwegian National Security Authority (NSM), the Norwegian Police Security Service (PST), and the Norwegian Government's Cyber Security Strategy for Norway from 2012. "Everything indicates that we now must expect sophisticated attacks aimed at critical societal information, including information and communication technology (ICT) systems that operate industrial processes and critical infrastructure", says Skotnes. Over the past decades, modern ICT has been introduced for operation of the various parts of the electric power supply. Previously operated manually, electric power plants now control and monitor production and distribution systems from a few control centers. Process control systems were traditionally closed systems, however increased connectivity via standard ICT technologies has made these formerly isolated ICT systems vulnerable to a set of threats and risks they have not been exposed to before. Skotnes was therefore surprised to discover that the network companies themselves perceived this risk as relatively low, despite the fact that many of the companies had experienced attempts to hack into their process control systems. Some even reported about daily attacks from the outside. "Many network companies put too much trust in their own systems, and take it for granted that attacks will not be successful. This contrasts strongly with what research and reports from the authorities tell us", says Skotnes. Another reason may be that the network companies find it difficult to prepare for something that might happen, but hasn't happened yet. Up until now, Norway has been spared harmful cyber attacks on critical infrastructures. However, worldwide there have been several incidents of cyber attacks during the last few years. The best known of these, Stuxnet, was discovered in 2010. This was the first known computer worm that could spy on and reprogramme industrial control systems. Among other things, Stuxnet was supposed to have been used against and damaged the Iranian nuclear programme. The attacks on the twin towers in New York, the bombing of the Government Quarter in Oslo and the subsequent attack in Utøya on 22 July 2011 have taught us that the unthinkable can happen. "We need to be better prepared for attacks against critical infrastructure than we currently are in Norway", says Skotnes. So, how can the network companies protect themselves against cyber attacks? System updates and antivirus software are important measures, but vigilant employees and management commitment are just as important, according to Skotnes. Last year, around 50 companies in the oil and energy sector were exposed to the biggest cyber attack in Norway's history. In Statnett, the transmission system operator in Norway, the attempt was discovered by a vigilant employee, which meant that the company was able to prevent malicious software from being installed or run on computers within the company. "My study showed a strong relationship between management commitment to ICT safety and security, and the implementation of awareness creation and training measures for ICT safety and security in the network companies. I was told that it was difficult to implement measures if the management was not committed to the issue", says Skotnes. Involving the employees in the development of ICT safety and security measures can be a useful way to raise awareness in the network companies. This can make it easier for the employees to realize the benefits of these safety and security measures, and not consider practicality and efficiency as far more important for their work. Her thesis shows that there exists at least two different subcultures in today's network companies, depending on whether the people operating the process control systems have an education in ICT or a background from the electricity industry. The latter group generally focus on keeping the systems running without interruption. Downtime is not acceptable, and the most important thing for this group is constant supply of electricity. "Supply reliability is important, but this way of thinking has to change so that everyone understands how crucial ICT safety and security is", says Skotnes. Power production in Norway is more difficult to affect. Ruth Østgaard Skotnes chose to concentrate on power distribution because this is considered to be most critical for societal safety. She collected data for her thesis through a survey questionnaire that she sent to all the 137 network companies operating in Norway in 2012. Skotnes also interviewed representatives from the contingency planning department in the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate (NVE) who are responsible for safety, security, contingency planning and supervision in the Norwegian electric power supply sector. By 2019, smart meters (Advanced Metering Infrastructure) will be installed in all Norwegian households. Smart meters will provide increased capacity, reliability and efficiency of electric power supply, but will also increase the vulnerability to cyber attacks. "Society's vulnerability will increase because the number of possible entry points and paths for attacks are continually increasing. This is why we as a society need to take such threats seriously", says Skotnes. More information: Ruth Østgaard Skotnes: Challenges for safety and security management of network companies due to increased use of ICT in the electric power supply sector. Doctoral thesis, the Faculty of Social Science at the University of Stavanger, 2015

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