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Many balls in the air

Detailed planning and foresight are the key jobs of a project manager on a transmission line project. They must also be ready to respond swiftly to unexpected challenges.

Fingrid and Svenska kraftnät, the Swedish transmission system operator, are building the 400 kilovolt Aurora Line from Pyhänselkä in Finland to Messaure in Sweden. The project will be completed next year.

“My main responsibilities on the transmission line project are to keep to the timetable and ensure high standards of quality and occupational safety. I also need to keep the costs under control,” says
Ritva Laine, Senior Project Manager at Fingrid.

The project began with the Environment Impact Assessment phase in 2016. Laine, the project manager, contributed to the process as a technical specialist responsible for the feasibility of construction along the chosen route, among other things.

“That phase included identifying a route that would minimise the harm to nature and people,” she explains.

The Aurora Line will travel 380 kilometres from Finland to Sweden. The project has received EUR 127 million in EU grants from the Connecting Europe Facility.

The Aurora Line is Fingrid’s largest investment this decade. When complete, the transmission line will enhance the efficiency of the electricity market, improve the reliability of the electricity supply, and enable more renewable electricity production in the Nordic and Baltic Sea regions.

At the start of the construction project, an international competitive tendering procedure was carried out to select the contractors. After that, the work could begin.

One challenge of the project has been the sudden changes in the prices and availability of materials since Russia invaded Ukraine. Other bumps in the road include the planning and implementation of electricity distribution outages where old lines cross new ones.

Building in the middle of the wilderness also keeps the project manager on her toes:
“In the morning, it is hard to predict what issues I will have to address as the day goes on. Bad weather can cause delays – large machinery can only get to some worksites in the winter when the ground is frozen. Sometimes work is suspended because of strong wind or severe cold,” Laine explains.

Next year, when the construction project is complete, Laine’s share of the work will also be done:
“My role in the Aurora Line ends when the project is handed over to maintenance.”


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