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ENERGIX-Stort program energi

Regulating Power in Norway Decentralization or centralization?

Alternative title: Regulering av kraftsektoren i Norge - sentralisering eller desentralisering av kontroll?

Awarded: NOK 8.5 mill.

Background for the project is reform in EU electricity market legislation in 2019 responding to an emerging international trend where local small-scale actors (consumers, prosumers, energy communities, aggregators) have taken more active roles in transition of national energy systems, described as decentralization of powers in development and operation of the systems. Further, the reform instructed local network companies to implement a new DSO-role that included facilitation of greater involvement by the local small-scale actors in development and operation of the network. We investigate how this new DSO role have been implemented by local network operators in the Norwegian and Sweden power systems. We next investigate what role national regulations have played in promoting involvement by small-scale actors and for implementing the new DSO role by the network companies, and provide explanations to varying developments in the two countries. We finally discuss benefits and drawbacks of various national network management models and how the future choice of model may be constrined by political, economic and technological factors.


Background for the project is an emerging international trend towards more decentralized organisation of the electricity sector, meaning a stronger role for consumers in small-scale production of electricity and management of demand, and a more active role for local grid companies (distribution system operators - DSOs) in planning and governing the balancing of the grid. The project will fill gaps in empirical knowledge about organizational development in the Norwegian electricity sector, contribute theoretically to assessing connection between regulation and sector organization, and uncover the causes of the recent evolution in electricity sector regulation. Frameworks for assessing and explaining government regulation and links to organisational development will be developed and applied for case studies of the Norwegian and Danish electricity sector. This includes a Multilevel Governance approach which reflect that national electricity systems are governed by local- and central-level actors, and by national and EU regulations. Hypotheses are generated from theory of Europeanization and public/private interest theories of regulation. Knowledge produced will be applied in a final assessment of factors that may condition the future choice of regulatory measures and organizational solutions for the Norwegian electicity sector. Methods and expertise from various disciplines, political science, legal studies, and economics are brought in for this true interdisciplinary project.

Publications from Cristin

Funding scheme:

ENERGIX-Stort program energi