Finland’s main grid is 90 years old – an increase in renewable energy requires continuous grid development
The electricity transmission main grid is part of the Finnish heritage, and it all began 90 years ago. Since that time, the main grid has developed into one of the world’s best electricity transmission systems. The transmission system operator Fingrid is celebrating this anniversary in a working way; grid development continues because the need to transmit electricity will grow in the future as well.
One of the biggest milestones in the history of Finland’s electricity transmission was the commissioning of the first high voltage transmission line on 16 January 1929. On that day, the first 110 kilovolt transmission line section of a main grid that now covers the entire country was taken into use between Imatra and Turku. It was also the first large national project carried out in Finland.
The idea of transmitting electricity over longer distances originated in Central Europe in the late 1800s. The significance of electrification for society was gradually recognised in Finland, and 1929 marked the start of development that has made our main grid one of the world’s best electricity transmission systems. The main grid now covers all of Finland and it conveys nearly all the electricity consumed here. Today, the entire country runs on electricity.
The main grid was initially built by various industrial operators. Its construction was an absolute necessity in terms of Finland industrial development. After a number of different construction phases covering several decades, ownership was transferred to the national transmission system operator Fingrid in 1997. Fingrid owns Finland’s main grid and all significant cross-border connections.
The main grid is facing its greatest challenge
Finland’s main grid has approximately 14,300 kilometres of 400, 220 and 110 kilovolt transmission lines as well as 114 substations and 4 HVDC connections. Long transmission connections and large power levels require high voltages to minimize transmission losses. The main grid is in good condition and electricity transmission reliability is outstanding, also on an international scale. Finland has strong transmission connections to its neighbouring countries and the internal transmission network enables electricity market activities that keep the country a single-price area.
However, there is still plenty of work to do. The main grid is facing one of the biggest challenges in its history, because the need for electricity will continue to increase in the future. One concrete example is the fact that more efficient transmission connections are needed between northern and southern Finland. The north produces a surplus of electricity while the majority of electricity is consumed in the southern part of the country.
The main grid is planned in a market-oriented manner in close cooperation with neighbouring countries. Large markets and strong transmission connections to Estonia, Sweden, Norway and Russia ensure that electricity is always produced in the most efficient way.
The main grid of the future will provide a platform for a clean, emission-free power system. Fingrid is developing the main grid with a long-term view so that clean energy can be connected to the main grid and made available to consumers and industry.
The Forest Line will be completed in 2022, and new connections to Sweden will increase electricity market efficiency
Fingrid is planning two large new transmission connections. One of these is the Forest Line from Oulu to Petäjävesi, which will increase transmission capacity in the north-south direction. Completion of the Forest Line is scheduled for 2022.
Also in progress is a third alternating current link between Finland and Sweden, which will provide an additional 800 megawatts of transmission capacity between the countries. This connection will ensure that the Nordic electricity market is even more efficient and reliable.
A video about our national heritage
A video created in honour of this special year describes main grid development from the 1920s to the present day in just a few minutes. Link to the video: https://youtu.be/ri1dTFB6alE
Jukka Ruusunen, President & CEO, Fingrid Oyj, tel. +358 (0)30 395 5140