This is yet another indication of an energy crunch in Europe after the gas supply from Russia was severely reduced. In Finland's case, Russia's Gazprom stopped all gas deliveries in May, making the country the third European Union member state to be cut off after Poland and Bulgaria.
Finland gets up to 70 percent of its gas from Russia, but gas does not have a large share in the overall energy mix of the country and accounts for only five percent of its total energy consumption.
Fingrid said the war in Ukraine and the exceptional situation in the energy market have increased uncertainties related to the availability of electricity. As a result of these uncertainties, Finns are warned to prepare for power outages caused by possible electricity shortages in the coming winter. (Related: Germans buying wood-burning stoves and stocking up on firewood as Russia cuts gas supply.)
But Fingrid did note that the Olkiluoto 3 nuclear power plant would be able to compensate for the missing Russian imports.
Päivi Suur-Uski, an energy efficiency expert from the firm Motiva, said that the electricity availability will depend largely on weather conditions and power generation. "It can be hard to predict in the long run. For instance, we don't know if it will be a cold or mild winter."
Households would also be informed in advance of pre-planned power outages, which could likely last between 30 minutes to two hours. Suur-Uski said the blackouts would be targeted alternately to different areas so that consumption would not peak when there are short supplies. A blackout in the capital region, for instance, would always affect a limited area.
Suur-Uski said that in Finland, regions vary greatly in terms of population and electricity consumption, so power cuts are likely to have a bigger impact in densely populated areas.
"In practice, in the event of an electricity shortage, Fingrid will inform the local distribution network companies of the total amount of power to be disconnected from each distribution network company's area, and after this, power outages will be recycled as two-hour outages until the electricity shortage has ended," said Tuomas Rauhala, senior vice president of power system operation at Fingrid.
Meanwhile, Norway is considering limiting its electricity exports if levels in reservoirs for hydropower generation drop to critically low levels to prevent power shortages and further rises in domestic energy bills. (Related: Russia reduces amount of gas flowing to Europe through Nord Stream 1 pipeline by 80%.)
Nordic grid operators – Fingrid, Svenska Kraftnät of Sweden and Energinet of Denmark – called on Norway to reconsider its plans for limiting its exports.
They said that if export restrictions were to be allowed under the current European electricity regulation, such a step could inspire other countries to consider similar restrictions, causing a much bigger negative effect on both the Nordic and the European electricity markets.
Households are advised to be prepared for pre-planned power outages, even if they are unlikely. Suur-uski said having water, food and a reliable light source at home is advisable.
Power cuts in a couple of hours should not cause damage. A short outage will not allow the freezer to defrost or a home's temperature to drop much, and devices can be charged for the two hours that the planned power outage might last.
However, Suur-Uski still believes it is important for households to always be prepared for unexpected power outages.
Visit EnergySupply.news for more updates about energy sources in Europe throughout the winter season.
Watch the video below for more information about Russia halting gas supply to Finland.
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