The main purpose of innovation in Statkraft is to develop and strengthen competitive advantages in the core activities, identify and promote new business development opportunities, engage in long-term expertise building and contribute to secure good future framework conditions for renewable energy production. In 2013, about NOK 109 million was expensed on various R&D and innovation activities.
Statkraft's innovation logic
All innovation activities are continuously followed up to ensure relevance and benefits. The following logic forms the basis for balancing investments between short-term and long-term innovation activities in the Group:
Improvement work covers daily challenges and usually give quick results. These projects focus on existing plants/equipment and optimal utilisation of resources. Market innovations are associated with commercial services around energy production and deliveries which, along with technological innovation, represents a significant competitive advantage for the company's long-term success. By focusing on development of new business models associated with existing activities, attempts are made to develop concepts with a short commercialisation lead time.
The Group's research and development (R&D) programmes are associated with Statkraft's core business areas and have a longer time perspective. Multiple-year R&D programmes have been established within hydropower, wind power and bio energy. 2013 saw the establishment of a new R&D programme within climate.
Exploration activities have been established with the purpose of evaluating and qualifying technologies and solutions which in the long term can form the basis for new insight or activity in Statkraft.
In order to support innovation projects and various processes/projects associated with strategy, technology and markets, Statkraft also has extensive activities within technology analysis, covering all of the above categories. Global technology development in the energy sector is carefully monitored and analysed.
Statkraft follows up each innovation project with a view to value creation. Estimates show an average value potential of several times the project costs. "Effect evaluation" is a tool introduced in Statkraft to highlight this value creation. This is used to measure quality and results in projects and as portfolio analysis and prioritisation tools. It is a simple method that gives a good indication of goal achievement level and value compared with actual costs over time. The method is based on weighting of grades within various dimensions. Every project is evaluated thrice; at startup, when completed and after implementation.
Relevant exploration activities
Developments within distributed energy have impacted Statkraft's activities. The purpose of the work is to establish deeper internal insight into the technological and commercial potential, as well as increase the understanding of how distributed energy affects Statkraft. Identification of business opportunities is part of this work. The development within solar energy is given particular attention, as this is a technology which can quickly develop into a significant share of the energy mix in various markets. Statkraft also has specific activities directed at storage solutions in the form of batteries.
Liquid biofuel is a new exploration activity addressing the business opportunities in the bio energy market. Specifically, the opportunities in connection with production of pyrolysis oil based on forest resources. Pyrolysis oil can primarily be sold as a renewable fuel for stationary heat production, but further refining can provide biofuel for the transport sector. Statkraft wants to use this opportunity to add to its basis bio energy expertise.
In December 2013, Statkraft decided to discontinue its investments in osmotic power, and take steps to pass the technology development on to other players in the world market.