Substations are nodes in the grid where electricity is distributed onto different lines.
Fingrid currently has 120 substations in Finland, and more are being built all the time. Each one has a unique name, with an abbreviation used in the management systems and documentation.
“Historically, the grid was a sparse network, and efforts began in the late 1920s to build power grids in earnest. Substations were traditionally named after the localities or districts in which they were built, such as Imatra substation, Hikiä substation, and Virkkala substation,” says Aki Laurila, Manager, Grid Planning in Fingrid’s Grid Planning Unit.
Jukka Schreck, Connection Coordinator in the Grid Services Unit, says that with the addition of 20 new substations this year, it will not be possible to name them after their localities – a longer nomenclature will be needed.
As a rule, existing place names are the first option.
“It is crucial that the place name is as descriptive as possible, easy to recognise, and unambiguous. It is important to have unique names and abbreviations to avoid confusing one substation for another,” Schreck says.
“It is also important to stick to a name once it has been chosen and not change it,” Laurila adds.
Usually, a substation designer who knows the area proposes a name. Fingrid checks that the name is not already in use and makes sure it can be easily abbreviated into just a few letters.
Arkkukallio, Sellee and Kellarijänkä
The duo, known for coming up with the names of many substations, recall some interesting names.
“Of course, Paskoonharju [Crappy Ridge] wind farm in Ostrobothnia is a pretty memorable one, but as you get closer to Lapland, the names naturally become rather interesting,” Schreck says.
He remembers a 400-kilovolt substation in Tornio whose name – the unusual-sounding ‘Sellee’ – was on the base map of the area.
“Arkkukallio [Casket Rock] at the boundary between Kristinestad and Isojoki and Kellarijänkä [Cellar Bog] in Kemijärvi are also interesting old names,” Schreck says.
Fingrid always tries to find a local name for its substations, and they are not named according to any companies.
“We want substation names to be long-lasting and permanent, whatever may happen in the sector,” Laurila and Schreck point out.