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Finland’s Power Deficit Will Widen Through 2015, Regulator Says

Finland will need to import as much as 1,900 megawatts of electricity, mainly from Russia, to meet demand next winter and after because of a shortfall in domestic supplies, the Energy Market Authority said.

The subarctic nation’s peakload demand may reach 15,200 megawatts during cold snaps, outstripping maximum supply of 13,300 megawatts, the regulator said today in an e-mailed report. The country’s structural supply shortfall will grow to as much as 2,100 megawatts by the winter of 2014-2015 as demand continues to rise by 100 megawatts a year, it said.

“Cross-border transmission capacity of 4,650 megawatts from Sweden, Norway, Estonia and Russia can meet the shortfall,” provided cables are fully available when needed, the regulator said. Transmission system operator Fingrid Oyj said today in a filing to the Nord Pool Spot AS exchange in Oslo that the 550-megawatt Fenno-Skan-1 cable that connects Sweden and Finland will be out of operation until Jan. 1.

During periods when temperatures are below minus 20 degrees Celsius (minus 4 Fahrenheit), each one-degree drop increases power use by 80 to 130 megawatts, according to statistics on the website of energy information service company Adato Energia Oy.

Average daily temperatures in Finland are usually below freezing for six months a year, and for as much as seven months in the northernmost regions, where temperatures can drop to minus 50 degrees Celsius in late January or early February, according to the nation’s meteorological institute.

New generating capacity in the coming decade will help narrow the shortfall, the Energy Market Authority said in its report. Finland will still need to import 200 to 700 megawatts during winter peakload even after the 1,600-megawatt Olkiluoto-3 nuclear reactor starts supplying power, currently expected in 2015. More reactors are expected online after 2020, it said.

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