E.ON pulls out of Fennovoima nuclear project

German-based power giant E.ON on Wednesday announced plans to sell its 34-percent share in Fennovoima, a utility that aims to build Finland’s third power plant.

Pyhäjoelle suunniteltu ydinvoimala. Image: Fennovoima

The departure from Fennovoima is part of E.ON’s wider plan to sell all of its operations in Finland.

“E.ON has decided to focus its resources and investments on existing Nordic operations in Sweden and Denmark. As such, we are initiating the process of selling our business and property in Finland,” said CEO Jonas Abrahamsson of E.ON Sverige.

E.ON is one of the majority owners in Fennovoima with a 34-percent share. The other 66 percent is owned by the energy consortium Voimaosakeyhtiö SF, which is a joint front of the project’s Finnish backers. Their ranks thinned earlier this year, when the S-Group retail cooperative, food distribution company Atria and several power utilities pulled out of the project.

Fennovoima plans to build its first nuclear plant in Pyhäjoki on Finland’s north-west coast.

“I understand the Fennovoima project’s importance for Finland. We are supporting the other owner, Voimaosakeyhtiö SF, in finding ways to carry on with the project,” said Abrahamsson.

In addition to Fennovoima, E.ON is also selling its stake in the gas company Gasum, in which it owns a 20-percent share.

Reactions from consortium

Fennovoima’s board chairman Pekka Ottavainen, who is also the CEO of Voimaosakeyhtiö SF, said Wednesday that the project would continue. He noted that E.ON is not pulling out of the project immediately. According to Ottavainen, the German-based utility will bow out of Fennovoima next spring.  

Talvivaara mining company, one of the shareholders of the Voimaosakeyhtiö SF consortium, remained hopeful that the Fennovoima nuclear power plant would be realised in spite of the setback. According to Talvivaara CEO Harri Natunen, the company has not curtailed its plans whereby the Fennovoima nuclear plant would provide energy to its mining operations.