Finland's largest utility, Fortum, is closing a coal-fired power plant in Inkoo, west of Helsinki. That will lead to a loss of 90 jobs, with a dozen employees taking a retirement option. Staff at the plant marched off the job on Tuesday in protest.
Built in the mid-1970s, the 750 MW plant has rarely been used in recent years, only supplying backup power to the Nordic grid during periods of peak demand. It has long been a loss-maker. This is partly due to falling electricity prices in Europe, driven by Germany's shift toward renewable energy.
The facility’s three units will be mothballed in February. Fortum’s Power division will record an impairment loss of 25 million euros in its third-quarter results.
The Trade Union Pro has criticised the state-controlled Fortum’s decision to shut the plant. It does not approve of closing domestic electricity production capacity when electricity is constantly being imported.
Most power on the Nordic grid is produced through hydro generation and nuclear power, which unlike coal do not add significantly to greenhouse gas emissions. The Finnish government has committed to moving toward lower-emission and renewable energy sources.
In July, Fortum reported a smaller-than-expected rise in profits for the second quarter, which it blamed on declining electricity prices and weaker industrial demand.