Fingrid, the electricity transmission system operator in Finland, is preparing to connect new nuclear power units to the electricity transmission grid. The new nuclear units, together with increased renewable energy, promotion of the electricity market and aging of the grid will require considerable investments in the grid and reserve power. These have been taken into account in the company’s capital investment plans.

Fingrid has drawn up thorough grid analyses of all nuclear power projects, and in technical terms, the additional nuclear power capacity can be connected to the transmission grid from the relevant plant locations.

Fingrid points out that the transmission grid will work reliably even if several new nuclear power units are constructed in Finland. Alongside new nuclear power capacity, another reason necessitating grid reinforcements is the considerable increase in the use of renewable energy sources. The transmission grid must continue to serve the electricity market. On the other hand, the aging of the grid also calls for new grid investments.

The construction projects related to grid reinforcements and reserve power take several years, which is why the investments in the first stage have already been launched. Fingrid’s investment program is updated continuously, taking into account decisions concerning new nuclear power facilities and other power projects.

The capital investment program has been divided into stages, and Fingrid is now implementing the first stage: basic solutions for the development of the power system shared by new generation units. This covers more than 400 km of new transmission lines and a new reserve power plant in Forssa. These projects are in progress and will be complete in 2016. The grid reinforcements required by the connection of an individual generating unit to the grid and by the operation of the power system will be launched after the investment decisions for new generating capacity have been made.

“If the grid reinforcements are to be carried out within the target schedule, the permit applications for the transmission lines need to be processed fluently and the cooperation between Fingrid, permit authorities and landowners must be successful,” said Fingrid President & CEO Jukka Ruusunen.

The Finnish climate and energy strategy aims at increased self-sufficiency in electricity and at reduced carbon dioxide emissions. Additional nuclear power capacity and increased use of renewable energy sources are in a key role in both of these objectives. However, shortage of adjustable electricity generation capacity may complicate the management of the power balance in the future.

“Additional nuclear power capacity together with for example wind power will lead to a reduction in adjustable generation capacity in the market. This will mean more challenges to the management of balance between electricity consumption and generation,” Ruusunen said.