As we detailed in early May, the transition from testing to regular output last month saw Finland’s first nuclear power-plant drive electricity prices dramatically lower.
As yle reports, the Olkiluoto 3 nuclear reactor in Eurajoki, southwest Finland, started regular electricity production in mid-April, about 14 years behind schedule.
Since then prices for power in Finland have continued to plunge as the efficiency of the plant flooded the grid with ‘new’ energy.
So much in fact that early on Wednesday of last week, the market price for electricity dropped below zero cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh)and for hours after that the price was only 0.3 cents per kWh at its highest, according to the country’s grid operator, Fingrid.
That was unacceptable and prompted the plant’s owner, Teollisuuden Voima (TVO) to significantly cut back its output…
“Electricity production must also be profitable for nuclear power plants, and when the price is particularly low, there may be situations where output is limited,” TVO communications manager, Johanna Aho, said.
According to Aho, cutting back on nuclear power production due to excessively low electricity prices is very rare, but not unheard of.
Janne Kauppi, an energy markets advisor at Finnish Energy, agreed with that sentiment.
“There haven’t been many situations where nuclear power output has been regulated specifically because of low prices,”Kauppi explained.
“When prices go negative on the electricity market, basically anyone who can adjust their production will do it, so that they don’t have to pay for their own production,”Kauppi noted.
The Finnish example is a testament to how nuclear can play a part in solving the current energy crisis, with consumers still paying sky-high fees for energy in many European countries.
However, the hypocrisy is of course that when power prices were extremely high in 2022, hurting consumers – it was all Russia’s fault; but now that prices are plummeting, operators can’t have that and withdraw supply to hurt consumers.