Norway’s EV transition to cost consumers $1.27 billion

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Norway’s power grid is likely to need 11 billion krone ($1.27 billion) in upgrades over the next twenty years if it’s to meet the country’s growing demand for electric vehicles (EVs), and consumers are likely to foot the bill.

That’s according to a state-appointed consultancy, Poyry, following a recent study by the Norwegian Energy Regulatory Authority and DNV GL, who says the investment would be needed in order to achieve the country’s 2040 transition to EVs.

The sales for EVs in the country reached a new record in March 2019, with almost 60% of new vehicles sales being fully electric – growth driven by the Norwegian government’s aggressive tax breaks and cheaper, or free parking and road tolls.

Norway has targeted 2025 as the year in which fossil-fuel sales in the country would cease, and almost 10%, or 220,000 of the country’s 2.7 million vehicles are electric.

“If nothing is done, charging every afternoon to evening seems most likely. In that case, the 11 billion … grid cost is paid by all customers,” Poyry’s Norway director Kjetil Ingeberg told Reuters.

According to Ingeberg, electricity consumers in the country could be facing higher bills, as a separate tariff for EV charging seemed unlikely.

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Poyry’s data indicated that most of the investment, (60%) would be dedicated to low-voltage grid development, 28% for high-voltage grid infrastructure, 10% for substations, and 2% for high-voltage transformers.

The alternative would require Norway’s EV drivers to change their charging habits.

If EV’s were to be charged at night, new grid costs would be near-zero, whilst afternoon charging would require grid just over 4 billion krone in new infrastructure and upgrades.

Interestingly, should drivers adopt an afternoon charging slot in the main, the country’s average peak-demand period would shift from 08h00 – 09h00 in the morning, to 17h00-20h00, according to the study.

Poyry has estimated that 1.9 million electric cars will be on Norway’s roads by 2040 with combined annual power demand below 5TWh.

Erik Figenbaum, chief researcher at the country’s Institute of Transport Economics (TOI) estimates that should all cars in the country be electric by 2040, Norway’s power need  will rise to approximately 8.8 TWh by 2040,