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Finland Forced To Fire Up Reserve Power Plants To Avoid Blackouts

Finland resorted to firing up two fossil fuel-powered backup plants early on Thursday to maintain grid balance and avoid power shortages, the Finnish grid operator, Fingrid, said.

Fingrid’s Huutokoski and Forssa reserve power plants were started up on September 8 at 7:39 a.m. local time to help balance the Finnish electricity system, the operator said in a statement. The backup power plants were stopped around three hours later, said Fingrid, which also added that the situation occurred due to “a lack of production and adjustment capacity.”

“Fingrid asked the electricity market parties for more up-adjustment offers and the situation has been brought under control. The price of adjustment electricity is currently exceptionally high at approximately €5,000/MWh,” said the operator.  

To compare, regular wholesale electricity prices in Finland were ten times lower early on Thursday.

Lower wind production and an outage at a new nuclear reactor were the causes of the lower power output that triggered the situation in which Finland had to run backup oil-fired power plants, a Fingrid representative told Reuters.

Last month, the Finnish grid operator warned that Finland should be prepared for possible power outages this winter in case of shortfalls in electricity supply, in yet another warning of an energy crunch in Europe after gas supplies from Russia were curtailed.

“The war in Europe and the exceptional situation on the energy market have increased uncertainties related to the availability of electricity. As a result of the great uncertainties, Finns should be prepared for power outages caused by possible electricity shortages this coming winter,” Fingrid said at the end of August.

Exceptional circumstances and a return to oil-fired power plants across Europe are only set to become more frequent after the recent cut-off of all Russian gas flows via the Nord Stream pipeline to Germany and the coming of the winter and peak heating demand in Europe.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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