Good decentralisation in the control centre

Control Centre Manager Maarit Uusitalo is responsible for managing the power balance on the main grid and the power system from the office in Käpylä. Uusitalo, who has worked for Fingrid for a long period in several positions, took on the role of control centre manager in March this year.

What did you do before your current job?

I graduated from the Helsinki University of Technology in 1992. My first job was at IVO Voimansiirto Oy, which later became Fingrid. Before I began working in my current role as control centre manager, I spent about ten years as the strategic network planning manager.

My career has followed an interesting arc that has taught me a lot: first I got to know the internal network and the system in Finland overall, then the transmission system in the Nordic countries and in Europe as a whole. Strategic planning focused on what the network will look like in 2030 or 2040. The work of a control centre manager concerns what the network looks like now or next week.

What is happening in your work at the moment?

The most acute matter in recent times has naturally been the coronavirus. In the early spring, we began protecting the critically important control centre and its employees at a very early stage by limiting the number of visits and contacts and by dispersing the control centre activities across several sites. Managed decentralisation reduces the risk of spreading coronavirus infections.

There are plenty of actions underway to improve the operations of the control centre, and processes are being reorganised at a Nordic level. We are involved in various projects, such as the Nordic activities of the operational planning office in Copenhagen. We are also involved in the joint Nordic Balancing Model program.

What is good about your job?

I have enjoyed my work, and I like working with people. There is a common objective in my work and in the energy sector as a whole: we are working together to ensure that we will have a cleaner power system in the future.

How will your work develop in the future? Which challenges may need to be addressed?

The surrounding power system is constantly developing, and this also affects our operating models. As the amount of wind power and solar energy increases, the power system’s operations are becoming more unpredictable. At the moment, the system is operated from one hour to the next, but in the future, we will be aiming to bring this down to 15 minutes. This will require operating models to be developed and automation to be increased.

What is a lesser-known fact about you?

A few years ago, it was a hot summer, and I wasn’t able to do any running. That’s when I really got into cycling. In the last couple of summers, I’ve cycled some longer routes, such as the stunning ring route in the archipelago.

 

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