By Tsvetana Paraskova of OilPrice.com
Finland should be prepared for possible power outages this winter in case of shortfalls in electricity supply, the Finnish grid operator said on Tuesday, in yet another warning of an energy crunch in Europe after gas supply from Russia was severely reduced.
In Finland's case, Gazprom stopped in May all gas deliveries to Russia's neighbor to the West, making Finland the third EU member state with Russian pipeline supply cut off after Poland and Bulgaria. The halt of Russian supply to Finland took place days after Finland—together with its Scandinavian neighbor Sweden—formally applied to join NATO in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Russia has warned both countries against applying to become NATO members.
Finland gets up to 70 percent of the gas it uses from Russia, but gas doesn't have a large share in the overall energy mix and accounts for 5 percent of total energy consumption.
"The war in Europe and the exceptional situation on the energy market have increased uncertainties related to the availability of electricity. As a result of the great uncertainties, Finns should be prepared for power outages caused by possible electricity shortages this coming winter," Finnish grid operator Fingrid said today.
According to Fingrid, the Olkiluoto 3 nuclear power plant would compensate for the missing Russian imports.
"In practice, in the event of an electricity shortage, Fingrid will inform the local distribution network companies of the total amount of power to be disconnected from each distribution network company's area, and after this, power outages will be recycled as two-hour outages until the electricity shortage has ended," said Tuomas Rauhala, Senior Vice President, Power System Operation, at Fingrid.
Also in the Nordic region, Norway is considering limiting its electricity exports if levels at reservoirs for hydropower generation drop to critically low levels in a bid to prevent power shortages and further rises in energy bills domestically.
Last week, the other Nordic grid operators—Fingrid, Svenska Kraftnät of Sweden, and Energinet of Denmark—called on Norway to reconsider plans for limiting its exports.
"If export restrictions were to be allowed under the current European electricity regulation, we fear that such a step could inspire other countries to consider similar restrictions and thus causing a much bigger negative effect on both the Nordic and the European electricity markets," the operators said.