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    Finland fires up two oil reserve power plants


    September 8, 2022 - AFP World News

     

      Finland had to fire up two oil back-up power plants on Thursday to avoid an electricity shortage, the grid operator said, following warnings of blackouts this winter amid Europe's energy crisis.

      The back-up plants run by operator Fingrid in Huutokoski in the southeast of the country and Forssa in the southwest were run for three hours, the state-run company said in a statement.

      Back-up plants are typically started up once or twice a year, but usually because of a sudden and unexpected drop in production and not due to the risk of a shortage, a spokeswoman said.

      "For this morning, the production and the imports weren't enough to cover consumption", Fingrid official Minna Laasonen told AFP.

      "We had reached the technical limits for imports from Sweden and wind production was very, very small", she said.

      The two power plants provided 200 megawatts to ensure a balance between production and consumption, Fingrid said.

      The company said it expected to have a total back-up capacity of around 600 megawatts this winter, in addition to Finland's total electricity production of around 12,300 megawatts.

      At the end of August, the operator urged Finns to prepare for electricity cuts this winter due to possible shortages.

      With the cold season coming up, the Nordic country hopes to be able to count on its new third-generation EPR reactor Olkiluoto-3, which began electricity production in December 2021 and is still in the test phase.

      According to the latest forecast from plant operator TVO, it should reach its full capacity of 1,600 megawatts by "early October".

      When Finland announced its NATO membership application in mid-May after Moscow's invasion of Ukraine, neighbouring Russia said it would halt electricity exports to Finland, citing payment problems.

      Until then, Russian imports had accounted for around 10 percent of Finnish electricity consumption and could provide up to 900 megawatts.

      Finnish neighbour Sweden can provide 2,400 megawatts, but Sweden is also facing possible shortages and has itself already resorted to oil back-up plants.

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