“The decision to award the honorary title was probably based on my entire range of experience. I am familiar with the technology, legislation and economics of the energy sector, and I have worked in the scientific world, in a regulatory authority and at a transmission system operator since the 1970s,” says Ritva Hirvonen.
A long career continues
Hirvonen first joined Fingrid in 1997, and she worked continuously for Fingrid from 2010 to 2018, when she retired. In between these periods, she worked for VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland and the Energy Authority for approximately ten years.
Although she has retired, Hirvonen still spends some of her time working, as a few prior projects still require monitoring and insight. She continues to work as an adviser to Fingrid for an hourly fee – at the request of the company and her colleagues.
“I am still available and working like before. I tell my foreign colleagues that I am ‘semi-retired’,” Hirvonen says with a smile.
Most recently, she has been involved in preparing the transmission system operators’ report on the Nordic short-term market, a project that Fingrid was responsible for leading. The new Nordic balance management model is also keeping her busy, as Hirvonen has given her comments based on her thorough knowledge of the legislation.
Author of the network code
Hirvonen worked at Fingrid on legislation and network codes in international positions throughout the 2010s. She has been involved in the European Commission’s project to develop network codes since the EU regulation was issued in 2009.
Key players in the preparation of network codes are the energy regulators via their cooperation agency, ACER, and the European TSOs via their cooperation organisation, ENTSO-E. Once the network codes are approved, they will become directly applicable laws in EU Member States.
“I have worked at ENTSO-E, preparing the network code related to market integration, and I have also commented on the handling of the network codes on behalf of the transmission system operator Fingrid during the European Commission’s approval process. The first package contained eight network codes, which were subsequently timetabled and implemented in practice in Member States. Since then, the clean energy package has arrived. The cycle is about to start again for the first eight network codes as some updates are already necessary,” Hirvonen says.
Hirvonen commented on the clean energy package from Fingrid’s perspective. She considers it important that a voice was given to Finland’s opinions on the European energy revolution.
She says that she experienced appreciation and praise in her own work when things progressed in the right direction.
“I have had the chance to influence the way European electricity markets work. It is rewarding when I see that the things I have been involved in are going smoothly.”