9.11.2017 09:00
Press Releases, Current News, Power System, Electricity Market

Fingrid estimates that electricity will be sufficient for this winter

Fingrid estimates that the risk of a power shortage in Finland this winter is at the same level as previous years. Electricity is expected to be sufficient during cold periods if the power system and market function as expected. However, a short-term power shortage is possible and Fingrid has prepared for this situation in cooperation with distribution network companies. The ongoing energy transformation and transition to a clean power system that is partly dependent on the weather will require changes in our electricity use habits.

The risk of a power shortage during this winter’s freezing weather is at the same level as previous years in Finland. A power shortage is possible if Finland experiences a severe and long-lasting cold period also in the southern part of the country. Fingrid estimates that the need for electricity imports on a freezing day this winter will increase to the 3,500 megawatt level. This means that one fifth of the estimated peak consumption of 15,200 megawatts will have to be imported from abroad. The market mechanism effectively controls electricity movements. Price signals steer electricity consumption and production and, if necessary, more than the estimated minimum amount of electricity will be imported due to market control.

Fingrid estimates that electricity will be sufficient during cold periods if the power system and market function as expected. The forecasted electricity consumption can be covered by domestic electricity production, and electricity imports from neighbouring countries can also cover a peak consumption situation during which nearly all electricity production and import connections are in full use. A short-term power shortage is possible if several significant and unexpected failures occur in a peak consumption situation.

“In a peak consumption situation the market steers electricity to where is needed most. If the price rises too much, industrial demand response is a good way to ease the situation,” states Senior Vice President Reima Päivinen from Fingrid.

No significant changes in the winter consumption situation this year

Although the 2016-2017 winter was mild, there was a short cold period occurred in early January during which Finland reached peak electricity consumption for the winter. The consumption peak – 14,273 MWh/h – occurred at 5–6 pm on 5 January 2017. The consumption peak in winter 2016-2017 remained below the previous winter’s peak of 15,105 MWh/h, which is also the all-time high for Finnish electricity consumption.

A lot of new wind power has been built in Finland, but wind production is estimated to be quite low on very cold days. Electricity production and consumption is expected to remain similar over the next few years. The sufficiency of electricity will only increase after the Olkuluoto 3 nuclear power plant has been commissioned.

In cooperation with local distribution network companies, Fingrid has prepared for a power shortage. A power shortage is a manageable situation in which electricity consumption still has to be restricted. Restrictions on electricity consumption would most likely apply to a small minority of electricity consumers and only for a short time. For household consumers, a power shortage would mean an interruption in electricity distribution for a maximum of a few hours. Electricity supply for functions important to society can also be secured in cases of power shortage.

Involving households in the electricity market

In peak consumption situations, estimates indicate that households consume about one-third of the electricity used in Finland. In these situations, controlling electric heating could provide flexibility equivalent to at least the momentary production of a nuclear power plant. In practice, this would mean approximately 15 minutes of heat control for households with electric heating and would not affect living comfort. In the future, it will be essential for control to be steered by the market, meaning that controlling consumption would provide consumers with financial benefits.

The participation of households in the electricity market has been investigated over the past year by, for example, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment’s Smart grid working group. The working group published its interim report in October. The actions outlined in the report could reduce the possibility of a power shortage occurring in situations when electricity production and consumption are strained.

“The ministry’s Smart grid working group has made some good proposals. Now we need quick implementation of the changes and political support for them. Now the energy industry has to find solutions for developing a smart power system and involving consumers,” says Jukka Ruusunen, Fingrid’s President and CEO.

Monitor the status of Finland’s power system

You can monitor the status of Finland’s power system on the Fingrid website or by downloading the Fingrid Online mobile application to your phone.

The map describing the power system situation is updated every three minutes. The website includes information about electricity consumption and production in Finland, the power balance and price of electricity in Finland.

Image of the power balance forecast for the winter 2017-2018

Further information:

Reima Päivinen, Senior Vice President, tel. +358 30 395 5160 or +358 40 556 2662 (power balance)

Jukka Ruusunen, President & CEO, tel. +358 30 395 5140 or +358 40 593 8428

A power shortage means that production and import are insufficient to cover consumption, making it necessary to momentarily restrict consumption. The terms power shortage and electricity shortage are both used in public.