Transport power lines against a blue sky

Power Transmission and Distribution Infrastructure

The backbone of the green electrical transformation

Following the rapid evolution of both electrical demand and generation, Transmission and Distribution networks are facing new challenges and are undergoing significant changes. AFRY is at the heart of these developments and understands the commercial and technical realities needed to assist clients through this disruptive transformation.

Decarbonisation policy targets are driving the growth of electrification, consumption on one side and the quick deployment of renewables on the other. Transmission and Distribution grids are core enablers for the energy transition, being the connection point between generation of green and intermittent electricity and the growing electrical demand.

The European power grid is a transportation system and marketplace serving more than 260 million customers on a continuous basis. Access to electricity is a crucial and fundamental service in all countries. Outages have severe consequences across the society, and Network companies are part of the most critical infrastructure in all modern societies.

AFRY understands the challenges Transmission and Distribution operators are facing, providing commercial, strategic, operational and transaction advice through market insights and modelling, market design, regulatory strategy development and power system analysis.

List of client challenges and the services offered by AFRY

Our advisory services give the TSO and DSO the best support to face today’s challenges

Decarbonisation through electrification Arrow pointing right

Current decarbonisation and electrification policies are leading to the deployment of decentralised generation and the integration of renewable sources. In addition, demand is rapidly changing due to the increase of electric heat and transport. For TSOs and DSOs alike, electrification policies lead to massively growing expected capacity needs, and consequently massively growing investment needs. However, with increased uncertainty of the future capacity and investment needs, better understanding of capacity needs and not least alternatives to grid investments are of crucial importance.

AFRY has deep insight and modelling tools to help our customers to understand and quantify scenarios for future capacity needs, and assists in understanding and quantifying the uncertainty facing grid planners. We assist customers in their long-term capacity planning, assessment of alternatives to grid investment like procurement of flexibility, and detailed understanding of the nature and flexibility in new customer segments like e-mobility and emerging industries.

EC Networks decarbonisation through electrification

All aboard for greener horizons

The maritime sector accounts for 13% of EU CO₂ emissions in the transportation sector. Most outlooks point to a steady growth in maritime transportation, and as with land-based transport, the decarbonisation of ships and ports is attracting more and more interest, both from governments, local authorities and companies. Decarbonisation has multiple benefits, with regards to public health and urban development in addition to greenhouse gas reductions

Ariel view of ship
Digitalisation Arrow pointing right

The evolution of technology for communications and Smarter Grids will allow network companies to operate in new and exciting ways. More and often real-time data are key to an immensely better understanding of the grid, both for operation and planning purposes. In addition, more data from end user smart meters and other external data sources further extends the scope for digital transformation. However, access to data alone are not enough to reap the benefits and values offered by digitalisation. AFRY assists TSOs and DSOs in their digital transformation journey, from early-phase feasibility analysis and value proposition, through advanced analytics and algorithm building from multiple data sources, through to the digital and operational transformation needed to implement new analyses not only in the system platform, but also in the asset management platform – from investment planning, daily operations, through to work processes and risk analyses.

Network companies are combining rich sources of data with new analytical tools to support their asset and network management, such as machine learning for short term forecasts and predictive maintenance strategies for network assets. These tools – which are already becoming mature in some industries – are finding early applications in energy. AFRY has been involved in pilots for dynamic line rating, and has built a proprietary application to deploy machine learning for predicting electricity demand and short term prices.

Many companies are undergoing a digital transformation of their operations. AFRY has supported a number of Horizon and national level innovation projects for network companies. We also offer a ‘Digital Use Case’ platform which permits network companies to compare their innovative and digital initiatives, allowing deep collaboration with other companies with shared roles, functions and objectives.

EC Networks digitalisation

Keeping it real-time

The availability of ever-cheaper and better sensors, in combination with high-capacity communication platforms, opens a whole new world of opportunities for enhanced electricity grid information. How can we create value out of more real-time grid data? Read the article by Kjetil Ingeberg below.

Power lines in night sky
Decentralisation of the power system Arrow pointing right

Traditional electricity systems were governed using large transmission-connected power plants to meet the needs of customers. Transmission systems were actively managed, whereas distribution networks were designed closer to ‘fit-and-forget' standards. The system of the future is radically different, with controllable resources connected at distribution level. As small-scale heat and transport are electrified, there is growing use of congestion management at the lower voltage levels. Distribution companies are adopting models of active network management, and DSOs are having to coordinate with TSOs to ensure that flexibility resources are used effectively.

The European ‘Clean Energy Package’ makes provision for Renewable Energy Communities and Local Energy Communities, both of which changes the relationship of the connected parties with their DSO and TSO. Local markets are emerging, some to coordinate the use of flexibility and others to facilitate localised energy trading.

EC Networks decentralisation of the power system

Market design options for procurement of flexibility

Nordic Energy Research commissioned AFRY to write a report which looks at the potential for Nordic DSOs to use distributed flexibility services, describes existing flexibility markets and pilot studies, and assesses design options for markets. The report summarises insights from interviews with DSOs, other stakeholders in the Nordic countries and a survey of major Nordic DSOs.

High voltage towers against the beautiful sunset
Wind Power

Valuing flexibility is at the heart of a successful energy transition

The need for flexibility in supply and demand is growing, and markets must be able to react quickly in response to changes in weather. As a result, market players, including those running the electricity systems, face new challenges that need new solutions. Our "Revealing the Value of Flexibility' report shows that the need for flexibility in supply and demand is growing, and markets must be able to react quickly in response to changes in weather.

Coping with regulatory reform Arrow pointing right

Network regulations address the challenges associated with natural monopolies – customer protection as well as ensuring sufficient grid capacity with satisfactory reliability. However, network regulations also need to provide incentives for networks companies and their customers to play the desired role in the green transformation. Balancing of different measures is a delicate task. Regulatory and policy expectations on network companies are changing. The Clean Energy Package places new limits on DSO ownership of batteries and EV charging stations, and requires DSOs to have incentives to buy flexibility services instead of building assets. There are new obligations to publish network plans including flexibility needs 5-10 years forward.

DSOs are facing a wave of new applications for connections of distributed assets including heat pumps and EV chargers, and the pattern of loads is changing as customers resort to self-generation. Some DSOs now offer ‘flexible’ connections which give the right to curtail distributed generation (or load), and local flexibility marketplaces are emerging. Tariff structures – which in many countries treats customers as captive and non-flexible – are coming under pressure to ensure that network fees do not spiral out of control. AFRY recommends that connection policy, access rights (including compensation in the event of curtailment) and network tariffs should be considered together.

AFRY advises customers – both network companies and regulators – on design of and adaptation to regulatory regimes. We have deep insight and experience from connection policy, tariff design, on income cap and incentive design, and on flexibility mechanisms design to name a few. We provide sharp advice on design options to achieve certain policy objectives, as well as how companies can adapt and optimise their position within existing regulations. Our deep knowledge is supported by quantitative tools to simulate efficiency and income cap, developments, impact of alternative investment scenarios, regulatory impact of mergers and acquisitions etc.

EC Networks coping with regulatory reform

Flexibility and the Italian electricity market’s future

The increasing disparity between demand and generation will make greater flexibility essential for the electricity system to be managed safely. This will create opportunities for existing and new technologies, as well as new business models – but a definitive answer remains to be seen. In this webinar, AFRY discuss why flexibility is needed in the Italian electricity system and how it could be created.

wind farm turbines electricity
High voltage towers against the beautiful sunset

Market design options for procurement of flexibility

Nordic Energy Research commissioned AFRY to write a report which looks at the potential for Nordic DSOs to use distributed flexibility services, describes existing flexibility markets and pilot studies, and assesses design options for markets. The report summarises insights from interviews with DSOs, other stakeholders in the Nordic countries and a survey of major Nordic DSOs.

Restructuring and Transactions Arrow pointing right

Restructuring and transactions in the network sector are driven both by investor interest in long-term, stable return on investment as seen from financial investors and funds, but also the strategic restructuring of a sector that in many countries is characterised by a large number of smaller DSOs, historically part of municipal or regional utilities. With increasing regulatory limitations and unbundling, restructuring into larger and more efficient network companies is a wide-spread trend.

AFRY assist both financial and industrial investors as well as DSOs in transactions, both with strategic advice and due diligence services. We have a long and proven track record based on a deep understanding of commercial, regulatory and technical issues. We provide both vendor and buy-side due diligence services, either for network assets alone or in combination with other assets like generation or retail portfolios.

EC Networks restructuring and transactions
Sun shining through transmission tower

Addressing the challenges of a changing power sector

AFRY engineers have the know-how to assist you in all areas of the electric power sector and with cost-effective and sustainable development, building, and operation of networks for electrical power transmission and generation.
Kjetil Ingeberg - Head of Energy Consulting Nordic Region, AFRY Management Consulting
Kjetil Ingeberg
Head of Energy Consulting Nordic Region, AFRY Management Consulting

Interested in our offering? Contact us!

Contact Kjetil Ingeberg

For sales enquiries, please complete this form. For all other enquiries, please visit our offices and contacts page.

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Stephen Woodhouse - Director, AFRY Management Consulting
Stephen Woodhouse
Director, AFRY Management Consulting

Interested in our offering? Contact us!

Contact Stephen Woodhouse

For sales enquiries, please complete this form. For all other enquiries, please visit our offices and contacts page.

AFRY is committed to protecting your privacy and keeping your personal data secure. We process personal data in accordance with the applicable laws, regulations and our privacy policy.