Finland will depend on imported electricity also in the coming winter - More domestic regulating power needed in the future

Electricity consumption in Finland in the coming winter will be clearly below that in the previous years. The economic recession is expected to decrease electricity consumption in a peak load situation by 1,000 megawatts (MW). Finland is still dependent on imported electricity. Changes in the electricity production architecture in the coming years together with the expansion of the electricity market will call for the determined development of the Finnish power system. Fingrid thinks that there should be more focus on regulating capacity in electricity production. Increased domestic hydropower production is clearly the best solution for this.Fingrid, the transmission system operator in Finland, has drawn up a power balance forecast for the coming winter. According to the forecast, electricity consumption in Finland will rise to a maximum of 14,100 megawatts. The estimate corresponds to a temperature with likelihood to occur once in 10 years. The consumption peak requires a temperature below -20 degrees Celsius in Southern Finland and below -30 degrees in other parts of Finland. Last winter, the peak consumption was 13,200 megawatts. The management of the power situation in a very cold winter day has been facilitated by the decrease in electricity consumption. However, Finland continues to be dependent on imports of electricity. The difference between domestic electricity production and consumption in a peak load situation, to be covered by imports of electricity, is 1,300 megawatts. Surprising problems in electricity production or imports may complicate the situation. Faults in electricity production in Finland and on transmission connections may also aggravate the situation. “In any case, Finland is still very dependent on imported electricity. This will continue to be the case until the Olkiluoto 3 nuclear power unit goes on line. We also need to bear in mind that economic trends change. When there is an upswing in economy, electricity consumption will grow again,” said Fingrid’s President Jukka Ruusunen today at the Finlandia Hall in Helsinki in Fingrid’s System Security Day. Domestic hydropower represents excellent regulating capacity The management of the power system in Finland will become more complicated in the coming years as the electricity production structure takes a turn towards a more environmentally benign direction. When large nuclear power units are connected to the nation-wide transmission system, the transmission system operator must have more reserve power plants and industrial consumption loads, which can be disconnected by virtue of contracts, for potential disturbance situations. The power volume of electricity generated by wind power will increase to at least 2,000 megawatts in the next 10 years or so. There are plans for a considerably higher volume. “Wind power production depends on the weather conditions, which is why we will need more regulating power capacity to adjust the forecast deviations and production variations of wind power. At present, Finland benefits from the fact that most of the power regulations in the inter-Nordic power system are carried out using hydropower in Norway and Sweden. Especially Norway has plans for significant grid reinforcement projects towards Continental Europe. In the future, more and more of the Nordic hydropower will be used in Continental Europe, where it will probably enjoy a better price. This is why domestic hydropower capacity and other capacity which can be regulated is needed in Finland to even out variations in electricity production,” Jukka Ruusunen points out. Increasing integration of the European electricity market also calls for enhanced transmission system operation, because electricity flows will vary considerably between Continental Europe and the Nordic countries on the basis of market prices. “Market integration will improve system security in line with more numerous transmission connections, but on the other hand, disturbances may shift more easily from one system to another. This is why the market-based flow of electricity across borders requires closer co-operation between the transmission system operators than at present. The state and production plans of neighbouring grids must be known at sufficient accuracy at all times,” Jukka Ruusunen says in commenting on the development needs of system operation as market integration makes progress. System security in focus
Fingrid is arranging a seminar at the Finlandia Hall in Helsinki today, with the topics covering power system security and the power situation in the coming winter. Fingrid’s System Security Day reviews the needs to develop transmission system operation when the electricity production architecture is changing. We will also present contingency plans for a major disturbance. Our stakeholders present their views of the role of system security in energy-intensive industries, and preparations by society for a long-term blackout. The seminar presentations can be viewed live on the Internet as a webcast. The seminar programme will commence at 13.00, and it can be followed online until 16.00 or later as video recordings.
Facts • Fingrid is responsible for maintaining a balance between electricity production and consumption in Finland.
• In the winter period of 2009/2010, the domestic electricity production capacity in Finland is 12,800 MW.
• The peak consumption in a cold winter day in Finland is 14,100 MW.
• In this case, net imports of electricity are 1,300 MW.
• The structure of electricity production is changing: there are both large production units and small wind turbines at the same time. An increasing portion of the production does not respond to the price of electricity.
• Maintaining the power system calls for regulating capacity. Domestic capacity which can be regulated (such as hydropower) and imports of electricity are suited for this purpose.
• Foreign trade of electricity is necessary for Finland also in the future.
Further information:
Jukka Ruusunen, President & CEO, tel. +358 (0)40 593 8428