Grid development and maintenance
Fingrid’s all-time biggest investment, the 400 kilovolt transmission connection from Pori to Oulu was completed at the end of 2016 in western Finland. With the completion of this power line, called the Coastal Power Line, there are now three 400 kilovolt transmission links connecting the northern and southern parts of the country . The project, which cost a total of EUR 260 million, was carried out according to plan over a span of ten years.
The transmission link serves the wind farms that have been built in western coastal areas and which will be followed by many more in the future. Several existing and planned nuclear power stations are also located close to this line. We upgraded the line’s low capacity and the power lines that had reached the end of their lifetime with new structures and boosted the transmission lines between the north and south. As a result, Finland’s future as a single price region is now more secure. The voltage upgrade will also decrease transmission losses. With the higher voltage, we are enabling an annual reduction in transmission losses by an amount corresponding to the electricity consumption of roughly 2,500 electrically heated households. We have prepared for disturbance and maintenance situations by building more loops, i.e. alternative routes, to the grid.
This multi-year project was a major challenge for both Fingrid’s entire personnel and our suppliers. The employment impact of the project amounted to approximately 1,000 man-years. We completed the project with excellent results. Our success was reflected in our ability to keep on schedule and within budget, and in the comprehensive environmental impact assessment that was carried out on the power line projects: Seinäjoki–Tuovila, Ulvila–Kristinestad and Hirvisuo–Pyhänselkä. The Hirvisuo–Pyhänselkä project received the national EIA award in 2011.
The total project consisted of three extensive subprojects:
Coastal Power Line 2007–2016
The roughly EUR 130 million modernisation project on Finland’s oldest transmission line, dubbed the ‘Iron Lady’ and running from Imatra to Turku, proceeded as planned during the year under review. The Hikiä–Forssa section of this major project was completed and commissioned in March. Modernisation of the Iron Lady continues between Lieto and Forssa. We also began to upgrade the Yllikkälä–Koria section between Lappeenranta and Kouvola and decided to upgrade the transmission line between Hikiä and Orimattila and to build a new substation in Orimattila. The Iron Lady project is expected to be fully completed by 2020.
With the aim of securing the electricity supply for both residents of the Helsinki region and functions that are vital to society, we will reinforce the Espoo substation and the Länsisalmi substation in Vantaa. The substation upgrades and extensions started in 2016 and will be completed in 2017. The supply of electricity from the main grid to Helsinki and Vantaa takes place via the Länsisalmi and Tammisto transformer substations, serving around 800,000 people. Increasing electricity consumption and changes taking place in the production of electricity in Helsinki necessitate upgrades in supply capacity. The extension of the Espoo substation will improve the system security of the transmission facilities in western Uusimaa, the region west of the capital area. In addition, local electricity production has decreased while consumption is increasing.
Over the last two years, we have made major investments to develop the transmission grid in Lapland by building or upgrading a total of six substations. These measures were necessary due to increasing local consumption and due to new wind power capacity. During the year under review, the substations at Vajukoski and Petäjäskoski received new transformers and the existing systems were upgraded and extended. The Vajukoski transformer substation, north of Sodankylä, serves both hydropower production and mining industry and links up with the Norwegian transmission grid via Ivalo. The Petäjäskoski transformer substation, a major link between Laplands 220 kilovolt and 400 kilovolt main transmission networks, also received an entirely new 220 kilovolt gas-insulated switchgear. Extensive upgrades were additionally carried out at the Taivalkoski and Ossauskoski substations.
We made several investment decisions during the year, many of which proceeded to the implementation stage.
The Inkoo substation that was built in the 1970s secures the electricity supply in western Uusimaa. We made an investment decision concerning the modernisation of the ageing station. The project is due for completion in 2018.
To secure the supply of electricity in the Hämeenlinna and Valkeakoski areas, we decided to modernise a 51-kilometre transmission line between the cities. We will dismantle the aged and worn out pylons and transmission lines and replace them with a new line in the same place. The project is due for completion in 2018.
Fingrid's capital expenditure in the main grid
Many of our investments are related to enabling or improving the operating conditions of industry. We are planning to build a new Vuoksi substation and a roughly 24-kilometre-long Lempiälä–Vuoksi transmission line between Lappeenranta and Imatra. The investment will be carried out sooner than originally planned, due to an extension to Kemiras industrial plant in Joutseno, and it is due for completion in 2018. We are securing the electricity supply for the new bioproduct mill in Äänekoski with the construction of a new 110 kilovolt transmission line between Äänekoskis Koivisto and Laukaas Vihtavuori substations, due for completion in late 2017. We are also modernising Olkiluotos 400 kilovolt switching station, which is outdated and has insufficient system security. The Olkiluoto substation is one of the most important grid nodes, with three nuclear power plants connected to it. The project is due for completion in 2019.
Fingrids Huutokoski reserve power plant will undergo a EUR-15-million upgrade. The Huutokoski plant, located in Joroinen, is one of the ten reserve power plants owned by Fingrid which are tasked to support a sufficient supply of electricity in Finland during major disturbances in the power system. The six gas turbine units of the Huutokoski reserve power plant were built in 1971–73, and they have a combined power rating of 180 megawatts. The upgrade project includes the modernisation of obsolete systems to secure reliable operation for the next 20 years as well as significant environmental investments. The systems to be modernised include fuel tanks and fuel systems, extinguishing systems, the plants internal electrical and automation systems as well as the plants own reserve power systems. The modernisation project on the Huutokoski reserve power plant will improve environmental safety.
The grid is kept in good condition and developed continuously. Several IT systems for asset management and utilisation are needed to support grid operations at every stage of the process, from long-term asset planning to the daily planning and maintenance of operations.
In 2006, we launched a project aimed at building a complete, modern IT system to support asset management operations. In 2012, we decided on a solution that comprises eight IT system products. We have integrated the products such that now the master data of the transmission grid assets is contained in a single application. This new IT system package that supports asset management and utilisation is called ELVIS. In this major overall project, we combined both the latest information technology and in-house knowledge and transformed operational procedures. The project was completed in 2016. Industry operators have followed our multi-dimensional and challenging project with great interest. We presented the project at the ELVIS Event held in Helsinki in the autumn; the event gathered representatives of TSOs from close to 20 countries.
Fingrids assets are carefully managed. In August, Lloyds Register audited Fingrids asset management operations over a two-week period, and awarded us a certificate for compliance with the ISO 55001 standard.
We have implemented significant revisions to the operating model to improve the reliability of cross-border transmission connections, and we have increased our expert resources on DC transmission connections. A 24/7 back-up system was also taken into use in HVDC operations as of the beginning of 2016. During the year under review, we were able to, above all, accelerate disturbance clearing, prevent individual disturbances and implement measures to secure the reliability and availability of the HVDC connections much faster than in previous years. Disturbances in HVDC connections did not affect the operations of the electricity market in 2016, which is partly thanks to the measures that were carried out. No disturbances requiring extensive repairs occurred in 2016, and less significant disturbances were cleared more quickly than in previous years. The total duration of interruptions in 2016 was as low as around 10% of the 2014 and 2015 levels. The number of interruptions was halved from 2014 and 2015.
HVDC disturbances, total duration and quantity
The figures in the tables are based on international practices that are established in defining the availability of HVDC connections.
Fingrids maintenance management is, by international standards, still world-class. We were rated one of the best operators in the International Transmission Operations and Maintenance Study (ITOMS) for the 11th consecutive time.
Occupational safety is a priority in our company. It is important for us that our companys and our service providers personnel make it home safe and sound at the end of every work day. In 2016, Fingrids personnel had no accidents resulting in absence from work (2015: 1), in other words, the zero accidents target was achieved. Our suppliers personnel had 12 (13) accidents resulting in absence from work, three of which resulted in an absence of more than 30 days. The suppliers and Fingrids combined accident frequency rate decreased somewhat from the previous year. Accidents and near-misses that occurred during the year have been analysed, the reasons for them have been determined, and measures to develop safety at work have been defined.
The occupational safety development project continued, with a focus on implementing occupational safety models and tools and improving safety attitudes. We trained the project and site managers and employees of our service providers, as well as Fingrids own personnel, in occupational safety matters. We introduced online training in early 2016 and it was used by more than 1,700 people during the year. We organised a safety observation campaign for our service providers and our own personnel. Work was also continued to develop a mobile reporting system for occupational safety, quality and environmental issues, online training and Fingrids safety management system.
LTIF and severity of accidents
Key events of 2016
Cross-border capacity upgrade between Finland and Sweden
Fingrid and Svenska Kraftnät decided to proceed with the realisation of a third AC connection between Finland and Sweden. Fingrid’s Board of Directors decided on the matter on 15th December 2016, while Svenska Kraftnät’s Board had decided on the matter earlier. The target completion date for the project is by 2025. The next stage of the project is more detailed planning that will seek to find a route for the new power line that is suitable in terms of the environment.
Electricity transmission between Finland and Sweden is among the most congested in Europe. Electricity imports from Sweden have increased, and in recent years the cross-border capacity has been sufficient to meet market needs only over half of the time. Congestion between Sweden and Finland has resulted in differing prices of electricity in the countries.
In 2016, Fingrid and Svenska Kraftnät conducted a study on the need to develop cross-border capacity. According to the study, congestion situations are also probable in future, and there will be a need for a new transmission connection. The most significant benefit brought by the new connection is the balancing of the price difference between the countries, but a third AC connection is also very important for Finland’s system security, sufficiency of electricity and boosting the reserve markets.
The new line will upgrade the transmission capacity from Sweden to Finland by 800 megawatts, an increase of approximately 30% over the current capacity. The planned route for the transmission line runs from Messaure in Sweden to Keminmaa and Pyhänselkä in Finland, and will thus be roughly 370 kilometres long. The cost of the project is estimated at just under EUR 200 million.
Open door event attracts visitors in Petäjävesi
We organised an open-door event at the Petäjävesi substation in August, and the event attracted more than 120 local residents and cottagers. An introduction to the substation was arranged before voltage was connected to the new power lines. Guests enjoyed a rare tour of the switching station and the concrete transformer bunker. The new 400 kilovolt substation that was started up in Petäjävesi in autumn replaced the 220 kilovolt substation that was built in the 50s and which had reached the end of its service life.