Fingrid looking for solutions to the main grid transmission capacity challenges on the west coast
The rapid increase in renewable energy production is giving rise to significant investment needs in the main grid. In Finland, this is particularly apparent on the west coast, where there is a shortage of transmission capacity. Fingrid has identified several solutions to the problems in the region, allowing the situation to be eased in the short term before new transmission line connections are built.
Finland’s west coast contains one of the country’s main concentrations of wind power production, and it is growing faster than all forecasts. Agreements are in place to connect approximately 5,000 megawatts of wind power production to the main grid in the region by the end of 2024. Fingrid has strengthened the main grid in the region by building infrastructure including the Coastal Line, which was completed five years ago, along with several connection substations along the line. However, this is not enough. Additional reinforcements are needed, as well as entirely new solutions.
The grid needs to be strengthened along the west coast for three reasons:
- to ensure that the main grid has enough transmission capacity to serve the region’s wind power production, especially in the event of maintenance and faults
- to ensure that the wind power plants in the region remain stable under different network operating conditions and
- to ensure that new electricity production facilities can be connected to the main grid in the future
The key solution is to increase the number of transmission line connections to the region. To this end, Fingrid is making preparations and conducting environmental impact assessments on a new 400-kilovolt transmission line connection from Kristinestad to Tampere and two similar connections from Kalajoki to Central Finland. The new connections will be completed in 2027 and 2028.
Increasing the transmission capacity of the main grid is an important project, but the west coast also needs solutions that can be implemented more quickly. The following are examples of such solutions:
- The voltage controllers in wind power plants could be fine-tuned to operate in a network dominated by wind power
- Dynamic Line Rating (DLR) could be introduced in the region to provide more accurate information about the actual current-carrying capacity of the transmission grid under different weather conditions
- The possibilities of rapid down- and up-regulation will be investigated
- A synchronous compensator (a large synchronous machine without an energy source) will be purchased to keep the region’s network in balance.
Solutions for ensuring the technical functionality of renewable electricity production are under investigation on the local, Nordic and pan-European levels. Fingrid is looking for solutions in collaboration with its customers, and it will communicate the progress of its work.
“The energy revolution is progressing very quickly. A wind power hub is emerging in Ostrobothnia to rival the combined output of the Olkiluoto and Loviisa nuclear power plants. In three years’ time, Finland’s total wind power output is forecast to be nearly 10,000 megawatts. By the start of the 2030s, it may have surpassed 20,000 megawatts. This is the new normal, and huge concentrations of production and, in the future, large demand facilities will spring up in Finland at a rapid pace. We need to remain agile, and it would be great if, for example, the permit processes for transmission lines could be faster,” says Jussi Jyrinsalo, Senior Vice President.
Last spring, Fingrid increased the scope of its ten-year investment programme from two billion euros to three billion euros.
Jussi Jyrinsalo, Senior Vice President, Fingrid Oyj, tel. +358 30 395 5118
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