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Energy companies' IT collaboration aims to reduce emissions and improve energy security

Norway is facing a major energy deficit. At the same time as the green shift starts in earnest, the world is experiencing an energy crisis. According to a report prepared by DNV and the Federation of Norwegian Industries, Norway will require more energy than it can produce and distribute as early as from 2026 to 2030. 

Many things need to be done to meet this challenge, and digitalization is an important element in this. 

“In order to utilize the grid better and secure energy supply at a moderate cost, information must be made available and shared more efficiently. More and better digital interaction between systems and organizations must be facilitated.”

This is according to Pål Rylandsholm, who works for DNV as an advisor on data and information modelling.

“Digital standards and a common digital language are essential for efficient work processes and optimal operation of the energy system of the future. We are working on these in different parts of the energy industry.”

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Standardized information models - the core of a common digital language

DNV is one of the world's largest suppliers of industry standards and common guidelines, particularly within the energy and maritime industries. The company has extensive experience of data management, information models, and digitalization and has, for example, developed more than 20,000 digital twins to ensure the safe and secure operation of ships. 

“Oil & gas production and power production share many similarities. For example, both these industrial sectors use one of the basic standards for building plant models, and here more than 70 per cent of the systems, equipment, and components are in principle exactly the same,” Rylandsholm points out. 

He says that DNV has, among other things, coordinated and led the READI project, which has developed a common platform for digital, machine-readable information for the oil & gas and offshore wind industries. 

“The aim is to have more automated activities and work processes, and the platform is already being enhanced in three major field-development projects through the DISC collaboration run by Equinor and AkerBP.” 

Rylandsholm also tells us that DNV is involved in DIGIN, which is the energy industry’s own digitalization initiative. 

“DIGIN is a joint industry programme involving Norway's largest grid companies, industry organizations, the authorities, and Statnett, which is responsible for the Norwegian power system. The overall goal is to help ensure reliable, sustainable, and affordable power through efficient data exchange between the players in the grid industry,” he says. 

In Norway, many companies operate the power grid. Traditionally, they have worked on digitalization separately or in various constellations, despite facing many of the same challenges. In other words, there are great gains to be made from collaborating to find good common solutions. 

“The problem is that more grid capacity is needed in order to electrify Norway. Green power sources are volatile and only produce when there is sun or wind, which does not necessarily match the times when we need electricity. So we require more flexibility, and this must be supported by digital solutions,” explains Rylandsholm. 

The DIGIN project was started in 2019 and the industry has now taken new steps and established a separate company to speed up digitalization.

Emilie Skoglund has been a consultant in DNV since she graduated as an energy and environmental engineer from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in 2021. She says that DNV's role in the project has partly been to provide professional resources for the working groups.

“A large portion of my role in the project has involved information modelling work, especially with regard to the international Common Information Model (CIM) standard, which can be regarded as a common language for the grid industry.”

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Laying the foundation for lower emissions and improved energy security

“I’ve learned a tremendous amount through working on DIGIN. It’s also very motivating to work on something you can really see the benefit of. A common digital language and industry standards lay the foundation for and enable the digital interaction we must have in order to transition to a renewable society. The digitalization we are working on across sectors means we can actually reduce emissions and bring more renewables into the energy mix,” says Skoglund. 

The DIGIN project not only contributes to the green shift but also helps to improve energy security, a topic that has become highly relevant as a result of the political situation in Europe. 

“Enhancing the grid and interaction between the various players also has to do with energy security. It aims to ensure a stable energy supply at all times, for an energy system that is increasingly complex and volatile. We are becoming more and more dependent on digital systems, and these help to ensure that energy can be delivered seamlessly and efficiently,” she points out.

Skoglund adds that Norwegian business and technology are at the forefront in this area.

“In this case, we are working on the application of international standards and we see that, as an energy nation, Norway is a driving force for standardization and digital collaboration across companies and sectors. I think this is because we are a society with a high degree of maturity and trust. Quite simply, we have a good climate of cooperation for creating common solutions and a great focus on bringing this into the international arena and anchoring it there.”

DNV’s strong position in this area means it acts as a bridge-builder in relation to major national and international trade associations and standardization bodies.

“I myself am a member of the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). There I meet with members from all over the world to discuss how to define and further develop these international standards, including CIM. I really feel that DNV and Norway are regarded as knowledgeable and have a strong ability to influence,” she says. 

Skoglund is also involved in several commercial customer projects concerning the same topic.

“I’m a project consultant for customers located in the US and Europe. In addition to travelling and building networks abroad, it’s very exciting to take what I learn and see how it can be applied in practice to solve real problems across national borders,” she adds.