In past projects, the discussion on the need for grid developments has proven to be difficult, therefore Statnett is pursuing a new approach in the Nettplan Stor-Oslo project. This includes Statnett involving external stakeholders early in the evaluation.
In a public event in November 2011, the project was jointly presented by Statnett, the municipality, and Friends of the Earth Norway. The affected municipalities of Oslo and Akershus, other public infrastructure providers, and real estate associations were invited. Topics that were discussed in this event included the overarching challenges in the Norwegian electricity network, the studies Statnett had undertaken so far, and innovative technologies for the energy infrastructure. Besides informing the guests about the project status in different presentations, input was collected in a workshop format and will be considered in the future process.
In a next step, Statnett commissioned an external consultancy to carry out a study on different alternatives to grid expansion. It was published in January 2012, and NGOs were invited to share their opinion on the report. The study assesses to what extent energy efficiency, reorganisation or load management could serve as alternatives to grid expansion. The result is that social costs of energy insecurity have to be weighed against the costs of having unused capacity in times of low energy consumption.
At this point in time, citizens were not involved actively in the process. However, the website provided an overview of the procedure, all documents and presentations of the events, and contact details from the project manager. In September 2012, alternatives were presented to the broader public. The website makes technical terminology, such as voltage upgrade or security of supply, easy to understand with the help of maps and animations.