- We don't have time or money to ignore the potential of new technology

The Energy Commission has given us seven years to build the power needed to meet the needs of the green transition. At the same time, we need to make today's energy consumption more efficient. How do we achieve this? Some of the answers came during the seminar of the energy cluster NCE Smart Energy Markets.

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Use electric car batteries as a storage resource in the grid. Expand wind, solar and nuclear power. Increase digitalization and share more data. Establish new collaborations across industries. Develop innovative technological solutions.

The options for solving the energy crisis are many and good, and much has already been initiated. But there is still a long way to go, according to the summary of the energy seminar in Halden in June.

- We need many solutions at the same time, and we need interaction between them," said Guro Nereng, climate advisor at Fredrikstad Municipality, from the stage.

Guro Nereng is a climate advisor at Fredrikstad Municipality and talked about how good framework conditions must be in place to avoid discrimination. ALL PHOTOS: Anja Lillerud

- Challenging situation

She focused on the power situation in Søndre Viken, which consists of the municipalities of Fredrikstad, Hvaler, Sarpsborg, Halden and Aremark. There is a lack of power transmission in several areas, and there is a great need for increased grid capacity and new power production.

Nereng also pointed out the challenge of the current framework conditions hampering good solutions in some cases. As an example, she highlighted the use of surplus energy from waste incineration plants. Today, incineration plants are treated differently internally in Norway and with Sweden in terms of carbon costs, which can make surplus energy too expensive for the industry.

- The connections are complicated, but there is a risk that the incineration plants could end up firing for the crow while industry fires with more natural gas. In the worst case scenario, the current situation leads to job losses or increased greenhouse gas emissions - or perhaps both. It's a challenging situation we're in," she says.

According to Nereng, an important step on the road to improvement is to work long-term to change the framework conditions so that challenges related to the surrounding infrastructure can be solved. Another key measure is to look at alternative solutions such as flexibility and power storage.

- It will probably help us a lot, even if it doesn't cover the entire need," she says.

Batteries on wheels are part of the solution

One of the speakers at the seminar, which focused on flexibility and storage, was Tom Orvei from Current. They deliver a technological solution that makes it possible to use the power from car batteries as an additional resource in the power grid.

Using car batteries in electric vehicles as an additional storage resource for the grid is a solution that Current and CEO Tom Orvei sees great potential in.

Today, everyone is familiar with one-way charging of electric cars. But the automotive industry has agreed that by 2025, all new electric car batteries will be capable of two-way charging so that power can be fed back into the grid.

The technology is called Vehicle-to-grid (V2G) and can be translated as "vehicle to grid". The solution involves the battery pack of electric cars acting as a power storage space that is available to the grid. When the load on the grid and the price of electricity is low, the battery is charged, and when the load is high, the electricity can be returned.

This solution enables the electric car to even out the load on the grid and reduce power peaks.

A key part of the work towards 2025 is to develop a technical V2G standard for the automotive industry.

- There are many players involved, so car manufacturers, grid companies and consumers need to agree on the rules of the game and how this will work," says Tom Orvei.

Making better use of current capacity

Heimdall Power 's technological solution is another example of how the need for more power can be met in a different way than expanding the power grid.

Vivi Mathiesen, Heimdall Power, on stage during the energy seminar in the Smart Innovation Arena.
With technology and smart software, Heimdall Power offers sensor solutions that enable utilities to make even better use of grid resources. "We don't have time or money to ignore the potential of new technology," said Vivi Mathiesen, VP Regulatory Affairs.

The company creates smart solutions for grid companies that enable them to make even better use of existing grid resources.

- The grid companies get a knowledge base to make good decisions along the entire value chain of the grid company," says Vice President Regulatory Affairs Vivi Mathiesen.

She highlighted the Energy Commission's conclusion that we need more of everything - faster - to be able to solve the energy crisis and explained how Heimdall Power's sensor technology in combination with software helps utilities to plan operations, maintenance and investments in a more targeted way.

- "With the ambitious goals of the Paris Agreement and the climate problems we face, we don't have time or money to ignore the potential of new technology," Mathiesen points out.

- We must do what works

The 130 or so participants were treated to a packed program with 19 speakers in the Smart Innovation Arena in Halden.

Engaged politicians, researchers, entrepreneurs, business leaders, climate advisors and business actors contributed with experiences, challenges, solutions, ideas, opinions and knowledge within the framework of NCE Smart Energy Systems' seminar: How to solve the energy crisis in South Viken.

Ap politician and Member of Parliament Stein Erik Lauvås is a member of the Energy and Environment Committee. He is keen to meet professionals and learn as much as possible in order to make political decisions on the right basis.

Member of Parliament Stein Erik Lauvås is a member of the Energy and Environment Committee for the Østfold Labor Party and was one of the speakers. In his political work, it is important for him to get out and meet those who are experiencing the crisis up close.

- "I'm very pleased that you're taking the initiative for this type of gathering because we need to come together and discuss challenges. And it's particularly positive that you focus on problem solving and not just problem description," he says.

Lauvås finds both knowledge and inspiration by attending seminars and other meeting places. "The challenges are well known to most people, so now it's time to find solutions.

The Ap politician's main priority is therefore to put in place a regulatory system that enables municipalities, businesses and others to save energy, produce more energy and achieve climate and environmental goals.

- There is no single solution to the energy crisis. There are many, small and large together. Those of us who create the framework and regulations must ensure that we do our job based on the good, professional input we receive. We must listen to those who know this so that it is possible to implement what works," says Stein Erik Lauvås.

The energy seminar is part of the project "Sustainable business development in the transport sector" that NCE Smart Energy Markets is conducting together with the transport cluster SAMS Norway and the technology cluster Kongsberg Technology Cluster. The project is funded by Viken County Council.

Leads new national cluster network

Eli Haugerud from Smart Innovation Norway will lead the work to establish a new meeting place across the country's many clusters.

The initiator of the new cluster network is FIN - The Association of Innovation Companies in Norway, which has most of the clusters as members.

General Manager Trine Ellingsen says that many people have asked to meet to exchange experiences and discuss current issues. 

- The clusters are key to Norway achieving its export and sustainability goals. We want to create an arena for sharing and collaboration,' she says in a press release.

Project Manager Eli Haugerud (left) and FIN's General Manager Trine Ellingsen are excited to host the first gathering of the country's many clusters - "Sharing experiences and knowledge is important," they say. BOTH PHOTO: Arne Inge Solgard
Project Manager Eli Haugerud (left) and FIN's General Manager Trine Ellingsen are excited to host the first gathering of the country's many clusters - "Sharing experiences and knowledge is important," they say. BOTH PHOTO: Arne Inge Solgard

Project manager with a lot of experience

Project manager Eli Haugerud works as Head of Communities at Smart Innovation Norway. This means that she is responsible for the innovation company's three clusters, NCE Smart Energy Markets, Cluster for Applied AI and the DECOM cluster, as well as the smart city initiative.

Eli Haugerud is a firm believer in the impact of a good sharing culture.
Eli Haugerud is a firm believer in the impact of a good sharing culture.

Knowing the needs of clusters with different levels of maturity and in different areas is useful in facilitating the exchange of expertise and experience for very different clusters. 

- Sharing is important. The immature can learn from those with more experience, we can also bring in impulses from outside and facilitate new collaborations," says Haugerud. 

- Happy to give something back

 This year, one or two meeting places are planned, and work is now continuing on the design of the program.  

- We have a dialog with several clusters to understand their needs and what we should do together. Industry Week in Porsgrunn is an example of an arena where we are present, and we would like to hear from more clusters," says the new project manager.

Ellingsen of FIN has great faith in the new offer.

- "The clusters are important to FIN and we are happy that we can now give this back to our members," says Ellingsen.

World Electric Vehicle Journal publishes work by Smart Innovation Norway researchers

Smart Innovation Norway researchers Dr Iliana Ilieva and Prof Bernt A. Bremdal, together with co-authors Kristoffer Tangrand and Shayan Dadman from the Arctic University of Tromsø, got their scientific article E-Mobility and Batteries-A Business Case for Flexibility in the Arctic Region published in World Electric Vehicle Journal (WEVJ) in February 2023.

The article is a result of ongoing work within the CINELDI project, an eight-year Research Centre under the FME scheme (Centre for Environment-Friendly Energy Research).

Bernt Bremdal and Iliana Ilieva
Prof. Bernt Bremdal and Dr Iliana Ilieva. PHOTO: Anja Lillerud

The E-Mobility and Batteries-A Business Case for Flexibility in the Arctic Region paper presents a method for determining the economic incentives and limitations for a battery used for peak clipping (also with reference to mobile batteries).

A ratio called the R-factor has been introduced, which helps determine the energy demand to curb the peak.

The paper's results embrace different investment scenarios showing what battery capacity can be expected, depending on interest rates, payback time and potential savings in power tariffs due to curtailment.

In addition, the paper introduces the "wrench and cut" concept, which can help improve the investment case for batteries by combining battery operations with standard demand response operations.

In particular, the effect of using a limited form of demand response-based load deactivation together with a battery has been analyzed. Data from the Interreg North-funded project Smart Charge (2019-2021) has been utilized in the paper.

- Our findings are highly relevant for vehicle-to-grid/vehicle-to-building developments where a vehicle is considered a mobile battery. The results we provide in our paper open avenues for enhanced utilization of mobile or stationary batteries, something that will have a particularly positive effect on regions such as the Arctic, where coal is still a major energy source, says Dr Ilieva.

Facts about WEVJ:

The World Electric Vehicle Journal is the first peer-reviewed international scientific journal that covers all studies related to battery, hybrid, and fuel-cell electric vehicles comprehensively.

It is the official journal of The World Electric Vehicle Association (WEVA), and its members are the European Association for e-Mobility(AVERE), the Electric Drive Transportation Association(EDTA), and the Electric Vehicle Association of Asia Pacific(EVAAP).

The WEVJ is published quarterly online by MDPI.

Businesses can now discuss research ideas with our expert

As a skills broker, Hermund Arntzen Dale has first-hand knowledge of how research can help companies solve their challenges.

Competence Broker is a free tool for developing business in Viken through research-related projects.

For several years, Smart Innovation Norway has represented one of seven brokers in Viken county. Hermund Arntzen Dale has recently taken on the role and is already well underway with both outreach activities and guidance of companies.

- Well suited as a competence broker

Hermund Arntzen Dale
Hermund Arntzen Dale. PHOTO:Kjetil Lier Svendsen

The aim is for business to develop through research-based innovation by helping business actors to identify areas where research can contribute to further growth.

Dale gets high praise as a skills broker from Violette Yi Qin, project coordinator for Skills Broker in Viken.

- We believe Hermund is a good fit for the role due to his work experience, educational background and personality. He has worked in various industries within energy and technology and has a good understanding of the public funding system both through academia and work in industry. The fact that he has work experience as an entrepreneur, we think is very positive - then you can forge closer ties with an important part of the companies, which is the main goal of competence brokerage. In addition, he is friendly and motivated, which we think is a success factor for being a good competence broker in Viken," she says.

The key tasks of a competence broker are to help companies identify problems that can be solved with research, find relevant partners and the right expertise in the research community, and find funding schemes that can co-finance the project.

- My background means that I have good knowledge of the public funding system, and that I know the needs and challenges of early-stage companies. I also find it very fun to tackle challenges in the business community and look at the opportunities that exist to develop new solutions while working with my areas of interest, which are technology, climate and the environment," says Dale.

- To become more profitable than they are today

The competence brokerage scheme is funded by the Viken County Council's Forregion programme, which aims to mobilize increased use of research as an innovation tool.

Based on the Research Council's three priority areas of sustainable transition and value creation, commercialization from research, and regional development, competence brokers have been established within urban, urban and regional development, health and care, climate, energy and environment, and technology.

Dale offers his expertise and advice in technology together with Per Olve Tobiassen from SpinOn AS in Kongsberg.

- The service is initially aimed at enterprises with little or no research experience. The premise is that development should take place through research. Together we will identify the problem and potential of the business, with the aim of creating returns and new jobs. We will simply find solutions that are more profitable than they are today," Dale explains.

Skills brokers exist in every county and the community works across municipal and county boundaries.

- I can easily connect them with the right competence broker in the right field and geographical location. The others do the same for me. In this way, we have a nationwide reach and, in practice, no limitations," says Dale.

Need for guidance

Most research and development (R&D) projects rely on funding schemes to be realized. And it is start-up companies that often have the opportunity to try out new ideas in response to changes in the market.

Unfortunately, figures from the Research Council show that small and early-stage companies are the most likely to have their applications rejected.

- Young companies naturally do not have experience in writing project applications, and many do not spend enough time on formulating themselves correctly or responding to what the call for proposals actually asks for. It can therefore be useful to get guidance from a competence broker when writing applications," says Dale.

The offer aims to give companies experience in R&D. The FORREGION Business Project support scheme is therefore central. Under this scheme, companies can receive up to NOK 200,000 for their research project.

Competence brokers also provide guidance on other funding schemes at the Research Council of Norway, the Regional Research Fund and other actors. However, competence brokers do not provide guidance on writing applications to Innovation Norway (IN)'s funding schemes because they have their own supervisors.

- We work closely with IN and can, however, refer to relevant personnel who can be of good help to the company, Dale explains.

Short route to skills and networks

The "competence broker" function was awarded to Smart Innovation Norway since the company already works with business, development, innovation, applied research, technology and clusters.

Read more about Smart Innovation Norway's business clusters:

Dale has access to Smart Innovation's entire network and all the knowledge of its employees. This puts him in a particularly good position to assist Viken's business community.

- The way we work on a daily basis at Smart Innovation is not very different from the typical day-to-day work of a competence broker. We share and use methods such as facilitating workshops, uncovering needs, mapping competencies and identifying potential, so I have a short path to competencies other than my own," he explains.

Experience so far shows that the free skills brokerage offer has great potential to become known among business stakeholders.

A large part of Dale's job will therefore be to conduct outreach activities both directly to innovation environments, companies and individuals, and by being present at trade fairs, conferences and other meeting places where these actors participate.

- An important task will be to motivate innovation and development. Not everyone sees their own potential, but with my knowledge and network, I see opportunities where others do not. Nevertheless, it is crucial that the will to innovate comes from within, and another important part of my job will be to be realistic and make the right recommendations for further development," he says.

Practical information

There is no application process for using a competence broker, nor is there any cost associated with the service.

Interested parties can contact Hermund Arntzen Dale by e-mail or phone +47 909 68 284.

Strengthening Norway's export opportunities

When the National Export Council asked for input to identify possible strategic focus areas, it was natural for NCE Smart Energy Markets to get involved and present the capacity, knowledge and potential our cluster partners represent.

In the Hurdal Platform from 2021, the government has stated that it will increase Norwegian exports other than oil and gas by 50% by 2030. To achieve this, the country needs new industries and export opportunities, and one of the measures the government has taken is the establishment of the National Export Council and the export reform Whole Norway Exports.

Through the new initiative, the authorities, the business community and the public funding agencies will work closely to achieve the Støre government's export goals, and Smart Innovation Norway's three clusters provided solid input on future export opportunities.

Strong communities of excellence

Inge Michael Bilet
Inge Michael Bilet leads the NCE Smart Energy Markets business cluster.

Energy, artificial intelligence and decommissioning are the areas of expertise around which the NCE Smart Energy Markets cluster, the Cluster for Applied AI (CAAI) and the Cluster for Decommissioning and Repurposing (DECOM cluster) bring together partners.

Norway has several actors in business, public agencies, research and academia with expertise in these areas. Many of these actors are partners in the networks of our three industry clusters, and they therefore represent a strong community of expertise in their fields.

The DECOM cluster and Smart Innovation Norway are part of the renowned Halden environment, which includes the Institute for Energy Technology (IFE) and Halden Municipality. The cluster works to create new jobs and sustainable development so that Norway can take a leading position in decommissioning and reuse, and in their input, the three actors argue why decommissioning should become one of Norway's priority export areas.

Read the full contribution here!

Solid national and international experience

The partners in our NCE Smart Energy Markets cluster aim to be world leaders in smart energy and digital technologies. Norway must make the most of this advantage.

In Norway, significant resources are being invested in the digitalisation of the energy system. This not only solves national challenges, but creates technologies, services and expertise that can be used in other markets, and the work in NCE Smart Energy Markets has provided solid experience in research and development both nationally and internationally.

Norwegian companies are in a position to become important suppliers of energy solutions on an international market, and NCE Smart Energy Markets works closely with several of these companies. Therefore, the cluster provided input on which export opportunities it can contribute to.

Read the full contribution here!

- Exports must be facilitated

Together with Abelia, NHO's association for technology and knowledge companies, CAAI submitted a submission that, among other things, points out that ICT companies represent a separate industry in itself with the export opportunities it brings with it.

Marianne Jansson Bjerkman, head of the Cluster for Applied AI, is clear that it is important for Norway to take a larger share of the global market and at the same time get a better grip on the data economy. ICT companies can contribute to this.

- To achieve this, it is important to facilitate the export of digital products and services, even though this will require expertise and tailoring. The bonus is that we will then also have the opportunity to get a better grip on larger parts of other value chains," she says.

Read the full contribution here!

New leader in NCE Smart Energy Markets: - I already know the cluster, the field and the partners well

Inge Michael Bilet (47) takes over from Eli Haugerud at NCE Smart Energy Markets and will lead an active and international cluster that has never been more relevant - "The energy crisis, the need for renewable energy sources and developments in the energy market are at the heart of our activities.

So says new cluster leader Inge Michael Bilet. He is by no means new to the field, so he knows what he is talking about.

The Fredrikstad man has experience in market analysis, product development, sales and marketing from the grocery industry, the automotive industry and the energy industry, and since 1 May 2020 he has been employed at Smart Innovation Norway. There he has worked across clusters, disciplines and departments.

On 1 October 2022, he was promoted to Head of the Norwegian Centre of Expertise Smart Energy Markets (NCE SEM) energy cluster.

- Urgent need for new solutions

The broad background from previous working life and the 2.5 years at Smart Innovation Norway will come in handy in the new job.

- In-house, I have been a business developer in the cluster team and an advisor to start-ups in the Smart Innovation Venture department. I have worked with the research department and their projects in energy systems and energy markets, and I have assisted our two other clusters, the Cluster for Applied AI and the Cluster for Decommissioning and Repurposing. I have a good knowledge of the communities I will lead and collaborate with," says Bilet.

In light of the energy crisis, energy market developments and the need for renewable energy sources, NCE Smart Energy Markets is more relevant than ever.

- There is an urgent need for new solutions to improve the efficiency of energy supply. There is a huge potential to extract more capacity from the current electricity grid, thus avoiding long-term and very costly investments to expand the grid," Bilet points out. 

He is clear that there is great potential for Norwegian companies to develop efficient energy solutions on top of the energy players' information and data structures.

- We are talking here about countless solutions in energy optimisation, distributed production, storage and use, multi-vectors, sensor technology, digitalisation/AI and on to the value chain for batteries, etc. Both the innovation communities, clusters and the supplier industry are dependent on publicly supported projects and good consortia to succeed with good interaction with large and demanding customers. We will concentrate on this teamwork between cluster partners, other businesses and the public funding agencies in the time ahead," says Bilet.

Gold re-certified

Another factor that makes the energy cluster highly relevant is that it has just been approved as a gold certified cluster for the second time by the European Secretariat for Cluster Analysis (ESCA). The first certification took place in 2019.

Gold certification is the highest award a cluster can receive in Norway, and at the beginning of December only nine of Innovation Norway's 38 clusters had valid gold certification.

- We are extremely proud and happy about this. It is a narrow needle eye to get through and shows that we run the cluster with high quality and in a good way, says a satisfied Bilet.

Eli Haugerud has led NCE Smart Energy Markets until she handed over the baton to Bilet, and she is happy to hand over a cluster in very good shape.

- "This is an active cluster, and with today's energy challenges as a backdrop, the cluster has probably never been more relevant than it is right now," Haugerud comments.

She will now take on new tasks as Head of Smart Innovation Communities, the department for the three clusters and Smart Cities and Communities.

Inge Michael Bilet and Eli Haugerud
Inge Michael Bilet has taken over as cluster leader of NCE Smart Energy Markets from Eli Haugerud. She joins as Head of Communities and will be responsible for Smart Innovation Norway's three clusters and the Smart City work. PHOTO: Anja Lillerud

Energy demand requires flexibility

One of Bilet's main tasks in the period ahead will be to ensure further progress in the strategy work that NCE Smart Energy Markets is currently undertaking. The aim is to further focus the cluster on the challenges that affect the whole of society in the areas of energy, energy systems and renewable energy.

- The goal of sufficient renewable energy in the right place at the right time can only be achieved through precise coordination between all energy actors in the power system. The cluster mobilises and facilitates cooperation to exploit new information infrastructures and prepare small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to develop solutions," explains Bilet.

Any new industry to be established in Southern Norway needs "new" power. New power in this case means capacity that does not exist in the grid and needs to be provided.

- To reduce the need to expand the electricity grid, it is important to increase the flexibility of the grid with, for example, local solar and wind generation, battery storage and conscious use. This must be combined with solutions that reduce or manage consumption," says the cluster leader.

NCE Smart Energy Markets will continue to coordinate projects and facilitate cooperation between actors in the energy supply chain, and the 47-year-old is looking forward to 2023.

- I am very much looking forward to continuing the good work in NCE Smart Energy Markets," says Inge Michael Bilet.

Leading the way regarding energy flexibility

Renewable energy resources are the future, but at the same time uncertainties regarding predictions and availability arise. How can businesses, public institutions and private households relate to the transition in the best possible way, and what possibilities are there in this new market accruing?

Watch the recording from the event "Energy flexibility - From customer to market"

We cannot promise to give you all the answers to the above mentioned and other related questions, but we can guarantee you interesting discussions and the latest news regarding these topics at our webinar "Energy flexibility – from customer to market" on September 20, 2022.

Through the Smart Innovation Norway cluster NCE Smart Energy Markets, cluster members have unique access to knowledge, new research, and updates from the national and global energy market.

As a partner in several energy-related EU projects, the company's researchers are some of those who lead the way through the green transition, and they are eager to share their competence using webinars, workshops, and conferences.

– One of our areas of expertise is the energy domain in the interface between IT and electricity, and events like this are a great opportunity for Smart Innovation Norway to show that we are one of the leading Norwegian companies when it comes to EU research, says energy systems researcher Olav Henrik Skonnord.

He knows the Flexgrid project well after working on it for several years and is among the organizers of the webinar together with NCE Smart Energy Markets.

The webinar will be taking place in the Smart Innovation Arena or online

 - Lack of information

Energy flexibility can be a source of revenue for companies, still only a very few businesses utilize the possibilities that lie in the technology already developed. Why is that?

- The answer is complex and diverse, but one significant reason is lack of information. And that is something Smart Innovation Norway is in the position to do something about, says Skonnord.

World society must prioritize energy flexibility, that is undiscussable. Statnett has distinctly signaled the necessity of increasing the amount of renewable energy resources such as solar power and wind power, and as these resources seize a larger part of the power production, the greater the need for consumer response.

That means Statnett will need more energy flexibility in the near future.

- When looking to our neighboring countries with less hydropower than Norway, the energy flexibility providers profits more because of a larger amount of intermittent renewable energy resources, states Skonnord.

Automatically generated

So, energy flexibility is one of the crucial factors to a successful green shift. Then, why is the new technology so difficult to implement?

Social behavior is part of the answer. It is extremely hard to change consumers' habits if their comfort and effort in everyday life are threatened or reduced.

Also, so far no one has managed to develop a profitable business model utilizing the room of possibilities lying in the gap between customer and market.

- Energy flexibility means that energy consumption is done at the most favorable time of the day. The flexibility must be automatically generated without requiring any actions from the customer, and an incentive to private households can be a discount on the electricity invoice, explains Skonnord.

Business opportunities

The efficiency of energy flexibility is according to the quantity and quality of energy flexibility. You need either a few huge companies or an enormous number of households that offer their flexibility, to have any effect. But how is the flexibility gathered and who collects it?

An aggregator like Enfo, whose Head of Sales and Commercialization, Morten Hagen, will be speaking at the webinar, has a huge potential when it comes to minor actors like private households or small businesses who want to offer their energy flexibility.

- Enfo makes business by being a trader of flexibility on behalf of several minor providers, Skonnord explains.

To enable households to be energy flexible, the buildings need multiple smart installations which can respond to the market at the same time.

Futurehome is a provider of such smart installations and is coordinating with actors like Enfo to make as many installations as possible react simultaneously when needed. Fridtjof Okkenhaug, Product Manager Energy and Program Manager R&D at Futurehome, is one of the speakers at the webinar.

- A crucial aspect for Futurehome, is to attain energy flexibility without compromising the customers' comfort or requiring any manual interventions, comments Skonnord.

Large companies can be great providers of energy flexibility, and often they utilize the opportunity through an aggregator.  

Better understanding

Being aware of the energy situation and knowing the opportunities of flexibility are two essential factors to identify whether your business can make revenue on energy flexibility or not.

After attending Smart Innovation Norway's webinar together with partners in the Flexgrid project and collaborative companies, the participants will have a better understanding of the topic.

In addition to the companies mentioned, Senior Consultant Hallstein Hagen and Gesa Milzer from the market operator NODES AS will be attending telling about how NODES has developed an integrated market design and an integrated marketplace for flexibility trading at any level of the grid.  

Alexander Kellerer is an advisor at Norwegian Energy Regulatory Authority and will update on the European Framework Guideline on Demand Response, and Stig Ødegaard Ottesen, Section Head Energy Market Research at Smart Innovation Norway will be presenting the ASKO electrifying project which focuses on how unnecessary grid reinforcement can be avoided in a way that is sustainable both for ASKO, who is electrifying 125 trucks, and the grid company through technology and business innovation?

Local energy communities - how municipalities can facilitate

National, regional and municipal climate targets require a total transformation of current energy systems and the production of renewable energy is considered one of the most important actions in this process. However, the ongoing electrification of various sectors leads to a large increase in electricity demand and requires more renewable power generation. These changes bring pressure on the infrastructure, costly investments and challenge the operation of the distribution networks.

Energy society

It is therefore necessary to reduce and optimize each individual's energy consumption. Establishing local energy communities, which relieve the grid operation, can be a step in the right direction.

What are Local Energy Communities (LECs)?

Local energy communities are when several individuals, households or actors come together and produce and store electricity locally, so that the grid company will be able to operate the grid without having to invest in expensive infrastructure. Given that production and storage takes place within the circuit of one and the same grid station, opportunities are created for improved monitoring and local trade. These allow for a more favorable grid operation and for the creation of business models that facilitate the use of smart grid technology, distributed renewable energy production and storage.


In order for municipalities to achieve their climate and environmental targets, increased local production of renewable energy is required. Renewable energy reduces greenhouse gas emissions and by utilizing areas that have already been affected by humans, the need for intervention in nature is reduced.

When several individuals, households or actors come together, it will be economically possible for more people to produce their own energy. By sharing the energy locally, consumers are more assured that the power consumed comes from renewable sources, and joint ownership makes it possible to influence decision-making locally.

For network companies, local energy communities will be able to contribute with better local coordination of resources, balancing production and consumption, and making consumer flexibility more accessible. This will reduce the load on the network both in periods when consumption is high, and in periods of high production. In this way, the existing power grid can be utilized better, and the need for reinvestments can be postponed. Local energy communities as a replacement for traditional grid investments can be a cost-effective solution, and will thus be economically beneficial also for grid customers outside the local energy community. Other factors that can be beneficial for the power system and grid companies are increased opportunities for innovation by grid customers, less transmission loss when more energy is produced locally, as well as the opportunities a local energy community gives participants to gain better insight into the power system.


In order to be able to produce electricity together in a local energy community and sell this production to the electricity company/grid company, the following elements must be in place:

  • Opportunities within regulations
    • 5 July 2022 - The government puts forward an exemption, which means that housing associations will be allowed to share their own renewable electricity between buildings and apartments without the residents having to pay electricity tax and network rent, even if the electricity is through the electricity grid. This also applies to commercial buildings

      In practice, it does not matter what kind of house it is, as long as it is within the same property. Eg: Apartment buildings where the housing units are on the same property, commercial buildings with several meters on the same property, condominiums consisting of several houses on the same property, farms with several buildings (and perhaps several meters) on the same property.
    • 27 July 2022 - The Regulatory Authority for Energy (RME) has been commissioned by the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy (OED) to submit proposals for regulatory changes for consultation to introduce a new model for sharing excess production
    • 5 July 2022 - On behalf of the Ministry of Finance, proposals for changes to regulations on excise duties are submitted for consultation. The proposal applies to exemptions for power from renewable energy sources used on the same property
  • Physical attributes such as units for production and possibly storage, infrastructure locally and towards the grid.
  • Digital tools such as management systems and delivery of statutory information (e.g. to Elhub) and handling (e.g. balancing), distribution internally in own network, etc.
  • Agreements between producers, consumers, electricity/network companies, aggregators etc.

If financial benefits for members of local energy communities lead to an increased financial burden for remaining grid customers, the development may go in the wrong direction. Local energy communities will also be able to burden the grid further if the local energy community's desire to maximize profit or degree of self-sufficiency comes at the expense of what is beneficial for the power system. In order to exploit the opportunities that lie in local energy communities and ensure safe and fair operation, it will be absolutely necessary for a good interaction between the grid company and local energy communities.

How can municipalities facilitate?

The municipality should work more with local involvement and facilitation for local conditions and competence building. There are many ways and levels citizens and households can get involved in local energy communities:

Individual participation

Residents or households can contribute by purchasing green energy, supporting/participating in energy renovations, commitment to a sustainable lifestyle and active participation in the design and operation of local energy communities.

Local energy initiatives

Citizens and households can get involved in the energy system through collective measures. This can be anything from motivating neighbors to save energy, to becoming active market units as part of a local energy community. As of today, the proposed changes for sharing only apply to one property (same farm and utility number). It could be very interesting to work further on being allowed to share production in a neighbourhood, possibly as a trial scheme to distribute costs towards grid companies, etc. This is an interesting project for the research department and some of the customers in NCE.

Energy citizenship through local energy communities

The Clean Energy for all Europeans package gives citizens the opportunity to take a central role in local energy communities. The Norwegian Energy Regulatory Authority (RME) presented the report "Arrangement for the sharing of renewable power production" in August 2021. In July 2022, RME was commissioned by the Ministry of Oil and Energy (OED) to submit proposals for regulatory changes for consultation to introduce a new model for sharing of surplus production. The proposal describes how the settlement regulations and regulations on control of network operations can facilitate customers within the same property to be able to share production. This means that where several customers share a connection point to the grid, they can produce and distribute energy between them, before sending power to the grid as a plus customer. A typical organization for several customers behind one connection point is a housing association. This means that if the electricity has to pass through the measuring point, it is no longer divisible outside the grid, and normal rules for using electricity from the grid apply. One connection point applies to one property, a farm or utility number. How calculation and distribution behind the connection point should take place is assessed in RME's consultation document: Equal distribution, optional distribution key or dynamic distribution key. Per day, only these are practically possible to carry out in elhub. Development of several types of distribution requires research, which Smart Innovation Norway can be involved in.

Energy community as, or with, an aggregator role

Distributed energy resources (DER) are small and medium-sized power resources linked to the distribution network. Aggregators aggregate DERs to engage as a single entity—a virtual power plant—in power or reserve markets. The services they can offer are flexibility in the form of load shifting or cutting consumption. This can be used by Statnett for frequency balancing or by the network company in case of local network challenges.

If you have more questions about the topic, please contact one of us in Smart Communities .

Skiptvet municipality must ensure a cost-effective, safe and sustainable water supply for residents and businesses.

Smart Water

For this, there is a need for data that can be used for daily management, for annual reporting, prioritization of projects and long-term planning. 

The underlying driving forces for increased digitization of the power grid can be summed up as urbanisation, older infrastructure and climate change.  

  • Urbanisation : Leads to both an increased need for capacity, but also a reduced need for capacity in areas where the population is decreasing. Digitization makes it easier to check whether the capacity is sufficient, or whether the water is stagnating in the network. 
  • Aging infrastructure : Analysis of available data can help the municipality identify areas with the greatest need for investment and detect leaks. Data access provides a basis for the municipality to work proactively by anticipating a reduction in the line's function and looking to improve the line before the damage has occurred.
  • Climate change : Smart solutions can help reduce stress on the pipeline network when more extreme events, more intense rain and stormwater that increase the risk of flooding and overflow discharges and increased drought in the summer that limits the capacity of drinking water sources, become more common as a result of climate change. 

As part of digitizing the wiring network, Skiptvet municipality will introduce smart water meters and at the same time utilize the potential that lies in the use of data from smart water meters. 

Data from smart water meters will be used to monitor the status of the municipal network, among other things to make leak detection more efficient. In recent years, Skiptvet municipality has had a water leakage amount of 30%, which requires resources to locate. Leakage water uses large amounts of energy in water production and transport and contributes to greenhouse gas emissions and unnecessary costs. Using data from smart water meters will simplify everyday life and free up resources for other important maintenance and operational tasks.

By automatically collecting and processing water meter data, the preparation of the invoice basis can also be made more efficient, including reducing sources of error, increased response rate and less manual handling for both the subscriber and case manager in the municipality. The municipality currently has manual processes for measuring and settling mechanical water meters and spends a lot of time processing cases of missing readings and complaints. Smart water meters make it possible to digitize these services, which will save the municipality resources.

For the resident, they want to offer a more understandable invoice, access to an overview of their own water consumption and the possibility to notify the resident if a leak is suspected. 

In summary, smart water meters can provide a number of benefits, both for the municipality, subscribers and society.

Profits for the municipality

  • Reduced costs that benefit subscribers
  • Reduction of leaks from 30% to 20%
  • Reduced energy consumption
  • Better environmental accounting with reduced CO 2 emissions from treatment plants and pumping stations
  • The municipalities will receive lower costs for their own building materials where leakage may occur
  • Option to optimize energy management of water pumps
  • The municipality will reduce costs for manual scanning and processing of reading cards and reduce complaint handling related to manual measurement and settlement

Profits for subscribers

  • Subscribers can get reduced public charges related to water
  • Reduced damage to property due to leaks, which leads to lower insurance premiums
  • Awareness and control of own water consumption

Benefits for society

  • Vertical data use for new services in a smart-city perspective (e.g. water consumption versus health)
  • Shared operating center with other infrastructures, for example electricity, water and district heating
  • Increased awareness among subscribers about water will contribute to a general increased awareness in relation to overall climate challenges

The municipality has carried out a pilot in the period September to November 2021, where the municipality tested 2 areas with digital water meters with a view to how the data from water meters can be collected, stored and what is needed to use the data to establish new services in the municipality. The pilot has given the municipality valuable experience and will lay the foundation for future purchases of digital water meters, associated data management and services such as invoice management and leak monitoring.

The pilot has also looked at the costs and benefits of introducing digital water meters and associated services. It was challenging to quantify all the factors included in the benefit analysis, but Skiptvet municipality has quality assured the calculations and assisted with the numbering of the internal items in the benefit analysis. The principle of the profit analysis is that with a profit index above 0, it will be profitable to invest in digital water meters compared to continuing as before. By installing leakage water meters in all households, the profit index will be positive after 10 years of operation of the system and it was therefore decided to install digital water meters in all households in Skiptvet municipality in the coming years.

Money has now been allocated in the financial plan for 2023-2025 for the necessary investments, so that work on the tender can start in the autumn of 2022.

Would you like to know more about how we can help you succeed in smart cities?

Now we have become even better at contributing to innovation

Europe does it, and Smart Innovation Norway does it. The Halden company is betting on "communities" and is strengthening its cluster activities, the Smart City initiative and its research work. By working more closely together and distributing resources better, more innovation is created.

In today's world, cooperation, community and participation are becoming increasingly important. It is felt outside Europe, and it is felt at home.

As a consequence of this societal development, Smart Innovation Norway is strengthening and expanding its investment in business clusters, smart cities and social science research. The company launches Smart Innovation Communities and prepares itself for further work by hiring more wise minds, entering into new and exciting agreements, working further

- A strength for being awarded new EU projects

- This is very exciting. There is naturally a difference in innovation by the municipalities in the Smart City work and by the private business life in our clusters, but many times there are the same drivers and the same challenges that are faced, and often the same tools that we need to use in use. Although we work in slightly different ways in the different areas, a lot is about creating security and commitment to driving innovation through sustainable thinking and making use of digitization opportunities. The Smart City work and the cluster economy are very closely linked, says manager of Smart Innovation Communities, Eli Haugerud.

Outside of Europe, there is a large and ever-increasing focus on the human aspect of research projects and innovation work. Smart Innovation Norway's research area for this is called Social Innovation. This competence is very relevant for both municipalities and cluster partners. Customer, citizen and user understanding is central to all innovation, and Social Innovation will therefore also focus on Smart City research going forward.

- We want to put the users in focus, and that is exactly what our social science researchers are doing. They look at the users and the users' needs and how innovation affects them, says Haugerud.

Each focus area will stand stronger by working even more closely together. Municipalities in Smart City work can be pilots in several social science innovation projects both in Norway and in the EU. The clusters know the business world and can contribute with the right research partners. The social science researchers contribute to the smart city projects and the cluster work with the human approach to the innovation work.

- This will be a strength for us when it comes to being awarded new and relevant EU projects, states Haugerud.

More learning between private and public actors

Over half of all value creation in Norway takes place in the public sector. One of Smart Innovation Norway's most important tasks is to help others become better at innovating, and the municipalities and public companies are important players both as customers and as clients for Norwegian business.

Creating a good interaction between the public and private sectors is absolutely essential, and the managing director of Smart Innovation Norway, Kjell Reidar Mydske, clearly sees that Smart Innovation Communities will improve and increase the innovation work of both parties.

- It is a strength of ours that we can use the expertise we have in and around the public and private sectors to mutually strengthen each other so that we both get better. Through Smart Innovation Communities, resources can work more and better crosswise, expertise is shared more, and we open up even more learning between the private and public sectors, he points out.

Mydske is satisfied that the Halden company is further developing its many years of good work within Smart City. The EU is very clear that Smart City and user participation are important, and the term "communities" describes a methodology which, among other things, is about working openly and together in order to be able to realize and commercialize research.

- We must invest in open innovation. We have to cooperate. The alternative is for the technologies to be developed and the innovation to take place in companies in China and the USA which will next come here and sell their services here. The EU will counteract that. That's why the EU is betting on "communities", and that's why we're betting on Smart Innovation Communities, says Kjell Reidar Mydske.


Eli Haugerud,
Manager, Smart Innovation Communities

Email: eli.haugerud@smartinovationnorway.com

+47 995 44 711


• Smart Innovation Norway AS conducts independent, applied research and specializes in research-based business development within smart energy, smart societies and new technology.

• One of Smart Innovation Norway's main tasks is to promote innovation among public and private actors.

• Many years of experience with innovation work is behind the company's launch of Smart Innovation Communities, which is a strengthening and expansion of the company's investment in cluster operations, Smart City work and social science innovation.

• In order to be able to contribute to innovation in an even better way in both the private and public sector, Smart Innovation Norway links the professional areas even more closely together and opens up for more collaboration across the board.

• The aim is to increase the pace of innovation and to realize and commercialize even more of the innovation through Smart Innovation Communities.