Towards a Meshed North Sea Grid.Policy challenges and potential solutions from a Norwegian perspective
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Original versionSINTEF Energi. Rapport. 42 p. SINTEF Energi AS, 2015
Political, regulatory and societal drivers and barriers for the realization of a meshed offshore grid between North Sea countries is here assessed. The Norwegian context is the point of departure, but with clear references to relevant processes at the European level. At the EU level there is an overall drive towards establishing common infrastructure for electricity distribution across borders, but no concrete measures concerning a meshed grid. At the Norwegian level, there is currently no clear commitment towards a North Sea Grid development. Norwegian authorities' approach to off-shore infrastructure, and related processes in the EU and NSCOGI, has thus far been characterized by a wait-and-see attitude. The Norwegian approach is characterized by socio-economic perspectives, with limited attention towards possible long-term and cross-sectoral effects; such as innovation, and new industrial possibilities. Off-shore wind power development could constitute a 'proxy', and licensing procedures for such installations have been in place for some years, but without any economic incentives. Furthermore, interconnector projects between Norway, the UK and Germany could be considered as potential steppingstones towards a meshed grid. However, harmonization between different national licensing systems stands out as challenging, and there is limited experience of coordinating the licensing of crossborder projects. Closely related to this is the question of public acceptance, including the possible need for on-shore grid upgrading which can trigger local resistance.