80 years since the first steps of the Finnish transmission grid

Transmission capacity of the grid to be reinforced considerably in the coming years The construction of the backbone of the Finnish electricity transmission system was launched 80 years ago. The first 110 kilovolt line between Imatra in Eastern Finland and Turku in Western Finland was taken into use on 16 January 1929. Since then, the transmission grid has expanded to the whole of Finland, now conveying most of the electricity consumed in Finland.

The introduction of the first high-voltage line from the Imatra power plant to Turku is one of the primary milestones in the history of electricity transmission in Finland. This was also the first major nation-wide project carried out by Finland. It launched the development of the nation-wide grid, which is now one of the best electricity transmission systems in the world.

The transmission grid was initially constructed by various industrial players. The industrialisation of Finland absolutely called for an electricity transmission infrastructure. After decades of various construction phases, the ownership of the Finnish grid shifted to the nation-wide transmission system operator in 1997. At present, transmission system operator Fingrid owns the Finnish grid and all significant cross-border connections. There are approximately 14,000 kilometres of transmission lines and 106 substations.

The idea to transmit electricity over longer distances first emerged in Continental Europe at the end of the 19th century. Over time, the idea also adopted in Finland made grid builders and decision-makers understand the true significance of electrification for society. Electricity and its transmission have become an indispensable infrastructure.

The Finnish transmission grid administered by Fingrid consists of 400, 220 and 110 kilovolt transmission lines. High voltage levels are used in the grid over long transmission distances and at high transmission powers so as to reduce the losses inevitably arising in electricity transmission. Major capital investments in progress Fingrid celebrates the 80th anniversary of the Finnish grid by pursuing its business in the normal manner.
“The company has several ongoing construction and maintenance projects. In the next 10 years, Fingrid’s total capital expenditure in the grid and reserve power will total 1,600 million euros. In fact, the next 10 years will constitute a new chapter in the development of the Finnish grid. Our capital expenditure programme accounts for 50 per cent of the replacement value of Fingrid’s present power system,” says Fingrid’s President & CEO Jukka Ruusunen.

The capital expenditure programme covers the construction of 2,700 kilometres of transmission lines and 30 substations in the next 10 years. In view of system security, one vital project is the new alternating current connection from Northern Finland to Sweden. Upgrading the 220 kilovolt network in Western Finland to a voltage of 400 kilovolt will reduce the risk of internal transmission congestions within Finland, and it will also enable the connection of extensive wind power capacity to the nation-wide grid. Reinforcing the grid in Lapland is another important project, ensuring the supply of electricity in Northern Finland.

According to present plans, three new reserve power plants with a total power of 300 megawatts will be constructed for the management of disturbance situations. New cross-border transmission connections will also be built. The Fenno Skan 2 link will increase the cross-border capacity between Finland and Sweden considerably and will contribute to uniform area prices between these countries, hence increasing efficiency on the electricity market. Another transmission link between Finland and Estonia (Estlink 2), in turn, will connect the Nordic and Baltic electricity markets even better together.

“The area of the Baltic Sea is one of the focal areas in the strategy of the EU, and Estlink 2 will represent shared input by Finns and Estonians to develop the electricity market in the Baltic area. In addition to the expansion of the electricity market, the integration of the Baltic countries to the Nordic market will have great significance for supply security in the Baltic countries. A shared electricity transmission grid in the area of the Baltic Sea will also enable extensive wind power projects in the area,” Jukka Ruusunen stated.   Further information:
Jukka Ruusunen, President & CEO, tel. +358 (0)30 395 5140
Matti Tähtinen, Senior Vice President, tel. +358 (0)30 395 5180