The power sector will naturally be exposed to digitalisation as strongly as other sectors. This opens opportunities for better utilisation of the power grid. Digitalisation is also a source of growth in power consumption through new data centres. Some measures for ’smart grids’ are relatively simple and inexpensive, yet very effective. The foremost example of this is to set standard requirements for components to be connected to the mains - everything from private car chargers and solar cells to commercial facilities for buses, ferries and heavy transport. In this way, a number of challenges that can be traced back to inverters can be avoided, usually at very low cost.
Digitalisation also opens up fundamentally new methods to leverage the flexibility of consumers, small and large. Digitisation can create flexibility through the use of management and communication technology that is used by power suppliers or consumers. Good technical solutions for flexibility will facilitate lower cost growth in the power grid then we would otherwise expect.
Developments in automation and sensor technology, artificial intelligence and machine learning create opportunities for the development of smart systems for consumption, production and the power grid. The trend is that more and more components connected to the mains are digitally controlled. New and standardised digital solutions create new valuable insights into data and enable efficient data sharing between systems and companies. This development allows for faster and qualitatively better management. This also opens up the aggregation of different types of consumption, so that the consumption side can actively contribute to the network companies' balancing and utilisation of the electricity grid.
The result can be better management of electricity consumption, better forecasts for both power generation and fault situations in the grid, and better utilisation of the electricity grid and plants for production and use of electricity. If this is successful, we will be able to carry out the electrification with lower investments than we would otherwise have. Prices, for example in the form of cost-effective online tariffs or from market solutions for flexibility, are also important to ensure good utilisation and development of the network. Battery technology and pricing and modern communication and management technology have made battery solutions a real alternative to traditional grid investments, especially if there is insufficient or relevant flexibility with existing grid customers.
As with flexibility, batteries can be beneficial measures for capacity challenges or voltage problems in the distribution network. The less capacity increase you may need, and the more rare and short-term the potential capacity problem, the greater the likelihood that batteries will be competitive with traditional grid power. In the long term, for example, electric cars can also become a relevant source of flexibility through smart charge management and possibly discharge to the grid.