Electricity usage peaks as cold closes in

On Tuesday Finland’s electricity usage peaked as the country battled the very low temperatures that moved in with a blast of cold air from the east. Power providers are confident they’ll be able to meet demand, however—thanks in part to imports from Sweden and Russia.

Vesihöyry nousee savupiipusta Vantaan Energian voimalaitoksella Vantaalla. Image: Heikki Saukkomaa / Lehtikuva

Finland is braced for temperatures around the -20 degrees Celsius mark this week, causing a spike in electricity demand. The lights will stay on though, according to power firms, as they are importing extra production from both Sweden and Russia.

“We’re importing about 1,500 MWh from Russia and about 2,000 MWh from Sweden,” said Reima Päivinen, head of operations at Fingrid, which managed Finland’s power grid.

Current consumption is running at about 13,000 MWh, while domestic production capacity is 11,600 MWh. The record for consumption stands at 14,900 MWh.

Electricity produced in Finland from gas or coal fired power stations is more expensive than the water or wind power purchased from neighbouring countries. Some 1,500MWh of coal-fired power producing capacity has shut down as uneconomic in recent years.

Despite the peak in demand, wholesale prices remain at about the level seen in the autumn. If the current cold snap lasts for longer than a few days, or temperatures dip even further, wholesale prices for electricity could rise.


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