Fingrid, which is responsible for the nation-wide electricity transmission grid in Finland, is making considerable capital investments in the transmission grid in Northern Finland. The investments are needed to reinforce the transmission grid between Finland and Sweden, and also to improve the supply reliability of electricity. The importance of supply reliability has become very concrete in the cold days of this winter. The project of reinforcing the grid in Lapland is due to be ready this year.
Fingrid has a major ongoing construction and repair program for the nationwide electricity transmission grid. This programm has progressed on schedule in Northern Finland.
“We completed a number of substation and transmission line projects last autumn, but the construction work will continue actively also in the coming years. All the reinforcement projects for the grid in Lapland will be brought to conclusion this year,” said Fingrid’s President Jukka Ruusunen in Rovaniemi.
The completion of some major contracts was celebrated in Rovaniemi today. A new 400 kV transmission connection was completed between Keminmaa and Petäjäskoski toward the end of last year. This line was part of a more comprehensive project with a total value of more than 50 million euros, also encompassing new substations and compensation stations which add to the transmission capacity of the grid. The compensation stations included in the project were the Asmunti series capacitor station in Ranua and the Tuomela series capacitor station in Yli-Olhava.
Several other contracts have also been in progress in Northern Finland. A transformer was acquired for the Pikkarala substation to serve as a backup transformer, to secure electricity transmission in the Oulu region and to reduce losses in electricity transmission. The 220 kV transmission lines from Petäjäskoski in Rovaniemi to Valajaskoski and further to Isoniemi in Kittilä were also completed in November. A new substation, too, was constructed at Isoniemi.
All these projects are part of the reinforcement of the transmission grid in Lapland. Increasing electricity consumption in Lapland will call for a stronger grid in Northern Finland, but the construction projects also aim to keep the electricity transmission capacity between Finland and Sweden at a sufficient level for the needs of the electricity market once the Olkiluoto 3 nuclear power unit in Finland is ready.
Building the Keminmaa-Petäjäskoski 400 kV transmission link was primarily related to improving the supply reliability of electricity in the Kemi-Tornio region and to upgrading the alternating current connections between Finland and Sweden, Jukka Ruusunen stated.
Sufficient cross-border connections needed for imports and exports
Fingrid is responsible for the functioning and sufficiency of cross-border transmission connections. The Finnish power system is part of the inter-Nordic power system. Moreover, there are direct current links to Finland from Russia and Estonia.
This winter has indicated concretely that Finland is highly dependent on electricity imports and on cross-border connections in the transmission grid. The windy and cold weather raised this winter’s peak consumption to date to approx. 14,300 MW, which was slightly more than what we anticipated in the autumn. At that moment, domestic electricity generation totalled about 11,400 MW and imports from the neighbouring countries 2,900 MW.
Despite the recession, the peak consumption was only 600 megawatts smaller than the all-time high peak consumption of 14,921 megawatts reached three years ago. The Finnish power system has worked without significant disturbances in the period of cold weather, and the sufficiency of electricity has not been compromised. The transmission connections have not restricted electricity trade between Finland and Sweden.
Major construction projects also elsewhere in Finland
The new electricity transmission connections in the north of Finland are part of Fingrid’s comprehensive capital investment programm. The company’s total capital investments in 2009 alone were 136 million euros.
Between 2009 and 2019, Fingrid will spend a total of 1,600 million euros on the transmission grid. The investments on an annual level are about 100-200 million euros. The objective is to build more than 2,700 km of new transmission lines and about 30 substations. All in all, there are about 30 grid construction projects in progress in Finland this year.
“We are reinforcing the grid based on the climate and energy strategy of Finland. Our capital investment programme will enable the connection of additional nuclear power capacity and new wind power capacity to the Finnish grid. The renewal of the ageing parts of the grid is also a major consideration,” Ruusunen said.
The extensive capital investment programm will be funded partly through borrowing, but it will also inevitably have an impact on the grid tariffs. A more considerable increase is to be expected in the grid tariffs after the present tariff period, in 2012. The nation-wide transmission grid only accounts for 2 per cent of the electricity bills of consumers, but the transmission price naturally has more significance for Fingrid’s industrial customers.