Skip to content

Finland's average electricity price slips into negative territory

The oversupply of virtually emissions-free electricity is mainly due to spring flooding, which is super-charging hydropower production.

Wind turbines in Ilmajoki.
An image of wind turbines in Ilmajoki. Image: Esko Jämsä / AOP
Yle News

The price of electricity fell into negative territory on Wednesday before noon, with the market forecast expected to stay there throughout the day before climbing in the evening.

This is a historic moment, according to Jukka Ruusunen, CEO of grid operator Fingrid.

"The average price for the day is now slightly, but nevertheless, on the negative side. Yes, it is historic," he told Yle.

Usually, negative prices for electricity occur at night for shorter periods of time, the novelty of Wednesday's price dip comes from its length.

The reason for the change lies in the oversupply of electricity.

"Production is high, consumption is low and now we are in a situation where it is not easy to adjust production," Ruusunen said.

Snowmelt makes hydroelectric regulation tough

Hydroelectricity is usually the source in the grid that can be adjusted if demand is too low, but this year in Finland and throughout the Nordic countries, meltwater is abundant.

"During spring floods, there is often this kind of forced production, because production cannot be slowed down. Due to the huge amount of water, hydropower often has a poor capacity to regulate in spring," Ruusunen noted.

In addition, nuclear power reactors -- including the huge new Olkiluoto 3 -- are in operation and wind and solar power are constantly being added to the grid.

"Last winter, the only thing people could talk about was where to get more electricity. Now we are thinking hard about how to limit production. We have gone from one extreme to another," Ruusunen told Yle.

Finland's electric future bright

The situation is difficult for electricity producers, because the price easily falls below production costs.

"Operators in Finland and the surrounding areas are now monitoring the situation. If hydropower can't be regulated, then it will probably be nuclear power next. Production that is not profitable at these prices is usually removed from the market. Nuclear power producers have already announced a reduction in production," Ruusunen said.

For consumers of spot price electricity, the subzero price means a really affordable price, even after transmission fees.

Last winter's campaign encouraging consumers to save electricity can now be temporarily forgotten.

"Now there is enough electricity, and it is almost emission-free. So you can feel good about using electricity," Ruusunen pointed out.

Finland is now making rapid progress towards self-sufficiency. Ruusunen stated this as important for investment in the green transition.

"We have a very good chance of building on this with industrial investments for the green transition. Finland is truly competitive; emissions are close to zero and everything is working fine. The prospects look great," he said.

Would you like a roundup of the week's top stories in your inbox every Thursday? Then sign up to receive our weekly email.

Latest: paketissa on 10 artikkelia