What is NorFlex?

The NorFlex project aims to develop the power grid of the future by enabling more flexible electricity consumption.

Over a three-year period, the energy industry players Agder Energi, Statnett, Glitre Energi, Mørenett and NODES will jointly test various technological solutions to promote more flexible electricity consumption by customers. Click on the illustration and watch the animated presentation of the NorFlex project.

They will be necessary as we move towards the full electrification of our society. Electrification involves replacing fossil fuel consumption with electricity in many areas of life, in addition to those where we already use electricity. The Norwegian power grid generally has plenty of capacity to supply everyone with electricity when they need it. But in the future there will be certain times of day when many users need lots of electricity at the same time. If the load on the power grid becomes too great, this may lead to power cuts.

Smoothing out spikes in demand

In the past, the response to the challenges created by spikes in demand has simply been to upgrade the power grid. But that is expensive – for the company that has to do it, for the customers who have to pay network tariffs, and for society as a whole. Continuously upgrading the power grid in response to the increasing number of electric vehicles and other devices being charged at the same time is not sustainable in the long term.

That’s why we want to use new technology to smooth out spikes in demand. That is both simpler and more affordable than upgrading the grid. We will seek to promote flexible consumption of electricity by offering to pay households and businesses to reduce their electricity consumption when there is high demand on the grid.

Lower electricity bills

Companies whose business model is to buy flexibility from electricity consumers and sell it on can offer potential customers the chance to adjust their electricity consumption in ways that have little impact on them in return for lower electricity bills. They can then sell this spare capacity on an open exchange for trading flexibility. The buyers on the exchange may be the distribution system operators. When the grid in a particular area is on the point of being overloaded, they will want some customers to reduce their consumption.

Through NorFlex, we will also test whether Statnett can make use of the flexibility that isn’t needed by the distribution system operators to balance the Norwegian and Nordic electric power system.

NorFlex consists of an umbrella demonstration project and three pilot projects in limited geographical regions: Demo Møre, Demo Glitre and Demo Agder. We will use them to test various technologies aimed at this kind of flexibility market.

Win-win for everyone

Our goal is for all of the participants in the market to benefit. Households and businesses can earn money by being flexible in their electricity consumption, and companies can aggregate and sell the flexibility on the market. By buying this flexibility, distribution system operators can reduce the load on the power grid and save money by reducing the need for grid upgrades. Statnett can save money by using cheap resources to ensure a robust and reliable grid.

The project will run until 2021.