Prosumers Are Entering the Energy Market: the Regulatory Framework Must Catch Up

During Arendalsuka, Norway’s largest political event, Volue hosted a debate about the integration of Distributed Energy Resources in the power system.


Aug 18, 2021

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To handle the green energy transition, power grid operators need to make a choice. They can either stick to the old ways and keep investing billions in grid infrastructure or they can utilize the existing infrastructure better by tapping into Distributed Energy Resources (DERs).

On Tuesday, at Arendalsuka, Volue hosted the debate "We Can’t Take the Energy Transition for Granted". A panel of distinguished political and business leaders discussed how the next generation power market will integrate Distributed Energy Resources.

“We need to make better use of existing power grid infrastructure, and increase local production of energy”, said Terje Aasland, Business Policy, Arbeiderpartiet.

According to Aasland the energy sector itself needs to take responsibility for this development.

“The end consumers won’t be pleased with an industry that has only one response to the demand for more flexibility: ‘Let’s build more grid’.”

He also added that consumers want cost-efficient and modern solutions.

“Going forward, consumers will demand more, as they are the ones picking up the bill.”

During the debate, Kjetil Storset, Distributed Energy Resources Lead at Volue, said that consumers should push Distribution System Operators (DSOs) in a new direction.

“The grid will be used in new and less predictable ways in the future. The DSOs need to facilitate this change and stimulate smarter use of the grid by providing grid capacity information to all users of the grid. You can’t expect grid customers to charge their electric vehicles in the most optimal way for the grid if the information about what’s most optimal is only available to the DSOs.”

Gunnar Løvås from the Norwegian operator Statnett was keen to see more input.

“We have been proved wrong a number of times, so we would like to keep an open mind. And we need input.”

Going forward, consumers will demand more, as they are the ones picking up the bill.

Terje Aasland Business Policy, Arbeiderpartiet

Not a technological challenge

Stina Hostad, Head of Entra Trondheim, provided an example of some of the issues that must be resolved for the energy sector to align with future demand.

The Powerhouse at Brattørkaia where she is in charge, produces more energy than it consumes, but there are limitations to selling and even sharing the energy with surrounding buildings, even if they are owned by the same company or are in the same business group.

“Building green is not a technological challenge,” she said. “Authorities are limiting the opportunities. At Brattøra in Trondheim, we could have established the world’s largest flexibility market for green energy, but we are not allowed.”

Lars Andreas Lunde, Business Policy & Ministry of Trade and Industry Secretary, Høyre, replied:

“We are trying to make it easier. For instance, owners of solar panels on roofs should not pay rent and el-tax. We need to install the appropriate incentives to support the development we would like to see.”

Morten Henriksen, EVP, Arendals Fossekompani challenged both the industry and the politicians.

“The sector has not changed a whole lot in the last 30 years. To move forward, we need some profound changes. We need an ‘Energy Bill 2.0’.”