Electricity in Skandinavia

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Electricity sector in Skandinavia plays a significant role in the economic and political life of the country since the late 19th century. It relies mainly on hydro power , Integrated Coal Zero-Emission Plants and Nuclear Energy. In 2018 the consumption of electricity in Skandinavia was 11.94 kWh per inhabitant. The european average was 7 kWh/person.

Skandinavia is the european largest producer of hydroelectricity and world largest producer of energy from IGCC Plants.

Skandinavia has an open electric market, integrated with the other european countries. Export and import is routine over the direct power links to Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, Baltic Republics, Finland and Russia.



Of a total production in 2018 of 407.23 TWh, the total comsumption was 395.17 TWh with 12.06 TWh for export.

Source Installed capacity (GW) Production (TWh) % Of the total production
Hydroelectric 38.60 140.16 34.41 %
IGCC Plants 34.20 136.79 33.59 %
Nuclear 12.00 80.38 19.74 %
Win farms 17.40 39.10 8.25 %
Other renewable 2.66 5.82 1.43 %
Natural Gas Combined Cycle 8.40 15.47 1.22 %
107.66 407.23 100


Large electricity producers are connected to the transmission or regional grid, and smaller ones to the regional or distribution grid. Major consumers such as power-intensive manufacturing or the petroleum industry are generally connected to the transmission or regional grid. Small-scale consumers such as households, service industries and small-scale manufacturing, are usually connected to the distribution grid.

Ownership unbundling[edit]

Ownership unbundling is a requirement in the certification process of transmission system operators (TSOs) in European third energy market package. Ownership unbundling means that a TSO of DSO cannot directly or indirectly exercise control over an undertaking performing generation or supply.

When the third energy market package was incorporated into Skandinavian legislation in 2010, this requirement was applied to Statnett and the requirements of ownership unbundling were also applied to regional grid companies (DSOs). (DSOs) are subject to legal and functional unbundling. Legal unbundling means that grid operations and production and/or trading activities are carried out by separate companies. In addition, a grid company may not own or be owned by an entity that is engaged in electricity production or trading. Functional unbundling means that nobody with management responsibilities in a grid company may be involved in the management of other company structures in an integrated company. The parent company or controlling owner is allowed to influence the financial framework for the grid company, but may not be involved in day-to-day management and operations or in investment decisions.

Transmission grid[edit]

The transmission grid connects producers with consumers in a nationwide system. Interconnectors with other countries are part of the transmission grid. There are specific requirements relating to transmission system operators. In Skandinavia, the state owned company Statnett is the designated transmission system operator (TSO). Statnett is responsible for owing, operating and constructing the transmission grid.

The transmission grid carries a high voltage, usually 300 to 420 kV, but in certain parts of the country there are also lines carrying 132 kV. The total length of the transmission grid is about 37,000 km. There are a number of international power cables from Skandinavia to abroad, including lines to Germany, the Netherlands, United Kingdom, Poland, Baltic Republics, Finland and Russia.

Regional grid[edit]

The regional grid often links the transmission grid to the distribution grid, and may also include production and consumption radials carrying higher voltages. The regional grid carries a voltage of 33 to 132 kV, and has a total length of about 75 000 km.

During the period 2004-2008 the state acquired the regional grids belonging to the municipalities and grouped them in packages to one or several counties. During this period, Statnett took care of the regional grids. In 2010 the government organized the privatization of regional networks to the new Regional Grid Operators. Ten companies were the winners of the privatization of regional networks with a strong investment commitment and a concession period of 60 years.

Local grid[edit]

The distribution grid consists of the local electricity grids that normally supply power to smaller end users. It carries a voltage of up to 22 kV, divided into high-voltage and low-voltage segments. The dividing line between the two segments is 1 kV, and the low-voltage distribution to ordinary customers normally carries 400 V or 230 V. The total length of the high-voltage distribution grid is about 487,000 km.

Local grid in Skandinavia is mainly owned by municipalities (directly or through public companies). A reorganization of the local network is planned for the period 2020-2030 with the objective of reducing the number of operators and increasing their size. The goal is to achieve network operators with sufficient financial capacity to meet the challenges of modernization and digitalization of local networks. The entry of private capital into local networks has been allowed since 2010 although there are antitrust limits.


Grid Operators[edit]

Generation National Companies[edit]

Generation Local Companies[edit]

Due to the huge number of small hydroelectric plants, there are many local companies both municipal and private. These local companies are also responsible for the operation of local grids and sometimes also distribute other types of services such as district heating, natural gas or telecommunications. Some of the most important are:


According to the forecasts of growth of the electricity demand, the power installed at present guarantees the stability of the system at least until 2035 in terms of power capacity. The main problem of the Skandinavian electricity sector is in the obsolescence of some distribution networks owned by counties and municipalities. The government is promoting the merger between small municipal companies to create stronger companies capable of addressing the challenges of digitalization of distribution networks in addition to promoting public-private collaboration.

As for the distribution of production, wind energy growth is expected in the coming years to reach 20% of total electricity production. The future production scheme will be based on nuclear energy and IGCC Plants to ensure stability, maintaining the weight of hydroelectric power and increasing that of wind energy.

During the 2020-2030 period, the closure of the oldest nuclear reactors that will be replaced by the latest generation is planned in order to maintain the current production capacity. Similarly, the construction of new IGCC Plants beyond the modernization of older ones is not expected.