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Finland restricts electricity transmission capacity from Russia

The decision is aimed at safeguarding the security of Finland's energy system, power grid operator Fingrid says.

Fingrid is the Finnish national electricity transmission grid operator. Image: Heikki Saukkomaa / Lehtikuva

Finland's national power grid operator Fingrid has announced it will restrict the transmission capacity of cross-border connections from Russia, effective from Sunday 24 April.

In a press release, the company said it was seeking to safeguard the security of Finland's energy system.

"The decision is based on an assessment of the risks to the power system in the changing international situation," the statement said, adding that the import capacity will be reduced to a maximum of 900 MW instead of the current 1,300 MW.

Helsingin Sanomat reported (siirryt toiseen palveluun)(in Finnish) on Friday that the assessment of the risks — as mentioned in the Fingrid press release — include possible attempts by Russia to influence Finland during the debate about Nato membership and the potential application process.

"Yes, that's what it means," Fingrid's director of Power System Operations Reima Päivinen confirmed to Yle. "Authorities in Finland have stated that there may be external interference with the infrastructure in connection with the Nato debate."

The Finnish Security and Intelligence Service Supo has warned that Finland should prepare for a Russian campaign of hybrid influencing and possible cyber attacks.

Although Fingrid is partially owned by the Finnish state (53 percent) and various financial and insurance institutions (47 percent), Päivinen noted that the decision to restrict Russia's capacity was the company's own and was based on Fingrid's own assessment of potential risks.

"This is by no means a political decision, but in practical terms it has been considered from the technical point of view of the electricity system," Päivinen stated.

"The Baltic countries made a somewhat similar decision some time ago, limiting import capacity from Russia for technical reasons."

Fingrid further announced that it also will restrict the transmission capacities from Russia during the commissioning test phase of the Olkiluoto 3 nuclear power reactor, located on Finland's west coast.