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Finding a balance

The Balance Management Unit at Fingrid’s main grid control centre is responsible for keeping the power system of Finland in balance in real time.

Electricity consumption and production must be balanced at all times. The challenge of keeping the power system in balance is revealed by very high or even negative market prices.

“It would be best if all market participants were as active as possible in the electricity exchange. Then, Fingrid would only need to fine-tune the system in the reserve markets,” explains Saku Poikonen, Expert at Fingrid.

Among other things, the balance management operator analyses the adequacy of electricity in the coming hours and on the next day. His most important tools are various forecasting systems, such as wind power production forecasts and electricity consumption forecasts.

The pace of work gets even tighter when the electricity wholesale market switches to a 15-minute trading period instead of the current one-hour period.

A significant part of the work is preparing for various extreme disturbances, and exercises are regularly held.

“They help us build on competences that I hope will never be needed in real life.”

Automatic reserves are the first line of defence against the smallest deviations in the balance of the power system. If larger fluctuations occur, the balance management operator regulates the power of demand facilities and power plants up or down as necessary to balance them out. This is done using slower reserve products in the balancing power market.

“Reserve products are offered on the market from power plants with easily adjustable capacities. On the demand side, an offer could be submitted, for example, for a forestry machine whose owner is willing to stop for a while for compensation.”

The reserves also include Fingrid’s reserve power plants, which can be started, if necessary, after market-based measures to prevent the electricity system from collapsing. If they are not enough to balance the situation, electricity consumption may be restricted. This would be an electricity shortage.


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