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Finland will be self-sufficient in electricity within a year or two, says minister

This year wind power could meet 12 percent of Finland's electricity needs – nearly as much as the new Olkiluoto 3 nuclear reactor is to supply.

The Olkiluoto 3 nuclear reactor in Eurajoki is to meet up to 14% of Finland's electricity needs when fully operational. Image: Lucas Ekblad / Yle

Finland will be self-sufficient in electricity within a year or two, predicts Minister of Economic Affairs Mika Lintilä (Cen).

Interviewed on the Yle current-affairs programme Ykkösaamu on Saturday, Lintilä said that this is due to investments in domestic electricity production.

Finland has diversified its energy palette in a planned manner, he said.

If the Olkiluoto 3 (OL3) nuclear reactor works as planned after the turn of the year, Finland will take a step towards electricity self-sufficiency. The long-delayed unit is undergoing test runs, and could reach full capacity in December.

On Friday, OL3 became Finland's largest electricity generation unit when its output exceeded 1,000 megawatts.

"Last spring, we were able to disconnect completely from Russian energy within a few months. A versatile energy palette, with domestic production playing a major role, will give us room to manoeuvre in the future as well," said Lintilä.

According to Lintilä, two things are certain.

"There's no going back to the old situation. We know that Finland will be self-sufficient in electricity within two years. We have investments in domestic electricity production to thank for that," he said.

Wind power is being built in Finland at a record pace this year, reports the business daily Kauppalehti. More wind turbines have been built in Finland in the first half of 2022 than in the entire previous year combined.

Last year, a record 141 new turbines were built. That record was surpassed in June, with 154 new units completed in the first six months of 2022.

As the end of June, Finland's wind power capacity was approximately 4,000 megawatts. This year wind power could meet 12 percent of Finland's electricity needs – nearly as much as OL3 is predicted to supply.

New transmission link between Finland and Sweden

On Friday, speaking after an emergency meeting of EU energy ministers in Brussels, Lintilä said there was a "very strong" will among EU countries to reduce energy prices.

For Finland, electricity transmission connections with Finland's Nordic neighbours are crucial, the minister said.

"We're in close contact with the other Nordic countries and trust that cooperation will continue. This energy war must be met with a united front. Fracturing the EU member states would only benefit Putin," warned Lintilä.

He noted that there is plenty of electricity production in northern Sweden that cannot be moved southward within Sweden due to transfer bottlenecks.

"The natural route for this electricity is to Finland. The most recent project this autumn is the construction of the Aurora Line electricity transmission connection between Finland and Sweden.

National transmission system operator Fingrid and its Swedish counterpart Svenska kraftnät are planning a new 400 kV transmission line between Muhos, Finland, and the Messaure hydroelectric plant near Jokkmokk, Sweden.

When completed in 2025, the line will increase the cross-border capacity between the countries by 800-900 MW in each direction.

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