Reaching the climate objectives will require significant investments in the main grid

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Fingrid’s network vision analyses the need to strengthen the main grid by 2035 and 2045. The electricity transmission capacity must be boosted substantially, but in terms of the main grid, the objective of a carbon-neutral Finland by 2035 is within reach.

Fingrid’s network vision, which was published in January, reviews scenarios for ­future electricity consumption trends in Finland over the next 15–25 years and considers the need for electricity transmission created by the increase in ­consumption.

In its network vision, Fingrid estimates that Finland’s target of becoming carbon neutral by 2035 will require approximately EUR 3 billion of investment in the main grid over the next 15 ­years. This is in line with Fingrid’s current investment programme. Investments in the main grid will enable clean domestic energy ­generation and allow industry, transport and heating to become electric.

Envisaging the future together for the first time

Network visions are usually prepared every three years. This was the first time that the work was done with public stakeholder collaboration.

“We started by creating four different scenarios for future electricity needs in Finland, and we asked our stakeholders for feedback on them. We received some really good, well-reasoned and insightful feedback,” says Mikko Heikkilä, Fingrid’s Manager of Strategic Grid Planning.

“We made changes to the scenarios based on the feedback – for example, we increased the growth of offshore wind power – but, above all, we received confirmation that our conceptions of the future were broadly correct. The debate on our vision will continue in the spring in forums such as the Fingrid Current event and the customer committees,” Mikko Heikkilä continues.

In its vision, Fingrid considers the requirements for transmission capacity on the main grid so that as many scenarios as possible would benefit from a stronger network cost-effectively.

“The need for clean energy is likely to increase significantly by 2035 as industrial processes, among others, switch from fossil fuels to electricity. In the future, the need for electricity may grow exponentially as a consequence of energy exports or strong growth in energy-intensive industries using clean electricity,” says Fingrid’s Specialist, Eveliina Seppälä.

“The investments in the main grid will enable electricity-intensive investments to be made in Finland, and they will be essential for Finland’s competitiveness as it becomes a carbon-neutral society,” Eveliina Seppälä continues.

In the future, Finland will need many times more electricity transmission capacity from the north to the south than it currently has. Finland’s chances of succeeding in its climate objectives will be boosted by the implementation of new electricity transmission links to Sweden and the Baltic states. Based on the vision, Fingrid will prepare a main grid development plan for the next ten years.

Read more about the network vision:
www.fingrid.fi/verkkovisio

Network vision work involved listening carefully to

Fingrid’s customers praise the new, more approach to creating a network vision for the main grid. The scenarios are considered to encapsulate future electricity transmission requirements, and the vision is perceived to correspond accurately to future needs under the various alternatives.

“This way of working on the network vision, including rounds of commenting, is highly compatible with Fingrid’s policy of emphasising the role of customers. In order for us to invest, we must believe that the main grid is able to respond to our future needs and those of the electricity market. SSAB aims to eliminate carbon dioxide from all of its production by 2045, and electricity will have a major role to play in reaching this goal,” says Mikko Lepistö, SSAB’s Energy Manager.

Jouni Pylvänäinen, the CEO of Kymenlaakson Sähköverkko, thinks it is good that customer feedback is taken on board while the vision work is still underway.

“I consider this a modern way of listening to customers. All electricity networks are in a state of transition, and we cannot be sure which way trends will turn. The network vision seems like a comprehensive package, and the four scenarios aptly encapsulate future investment needs. I believe that we will be able to trust in the reliability of the main grid going forward,” Pylvänäinen says.

Focusing on investment priorities

The location of investments on the main grid is significant for customers.

“It will be interesting to see whether we get any wind power plants in Southeast Finland in the future. This would reduce the need for transmission from the north to the south. The number of solar panels in our area of influence doubles every year and, in the future, we will need to take this form of energy generation into consideration. In the vision of the future, the role of the distribution network is up for further discussion, and Fingrid’s network vision provides a solid foundation for this,” Pylvänäinen says.

SSAB’s electricity consumption will ­increase up to tenfold over the next 25 years.

“The main grid vision could contain more plans for the northernmost parts of Finland. About one-third of Finland’s territory still has fairly poor electricity network coverage. The electricity market functions better with larger uniform price areas. For this reason, it is important to have enough import and export connections. The main grid is an enabler of electrification – in the future, it will need to connect significantly more electricity generators with consumers,” Lepistö summarises.

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