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Finland's deep freeze brings peak in electricity consumption

Very low temperatures struck Finland this week, and that brought a spike in energy consumption.

Kattotutkan työntekijä lappaa lunta pois katolta.
Cold weather means snow must be removed from roofs in Finland. Image: Kristiina Lehto / Yle
Yle News

Friday morning saw the biggest spike in Finnish electricity consumption this winter.

According to the distribution network Fingrid, consumption rose to an average of 14,230 megawatt-hours (MWh) just after 8am on Friday morning.

Normal consumption is an average of between 10 and 12,000 MWh.

Some 9 620 MWh of the electricity consumed on Friday was produced in Finland, with smaller amounts imported from Sweden, Russia and Estonia.

Common energy market

Fingrid director Reima Päivinen said that consumption over 14,000 MWh per hour is fairly normal for a morning as cold as Friday's, when temperatures dipped below -20 degrees Celsius even in southern Finland.

"In winter we do generally hit those kinds of numbers," said Päivinen. "Last year's mild winter was an exception, we didn't go over 14,000 MWh/h then."

Päivinen said that domestic reserve capacity to produce electricity is around 11,400 MWh/h, with Finland reliant on imports after that. The final balance usually depends on market conditions, and how much each type of power costs.

"In practice the Nordic countries and western Europe are a common wholesale electricity market region," said Päivinen. "Production changes hour by hour depending on consumption, transmission issues and demand. If it's possible to get cheaper electricity from abroad than it is to produce it domestically, imports are bigger."

The all-time record for electricity consumption was recorded in 2016, when Finland hit 15,105 MWh/h.

Electricity consumption can be followed in real time via the Fingrid website (siirryt toiseen palveluun).

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