Finland opens two reserve power plants over European energy crisis fears

Two back-up power plants have been fired up in Finland amid Europe’s deepening energy crisis.

Fingrid, the Nordic country’s power grid operator, said on Thursday that the decision had been taken in an attempt to shore up the country’s electricity system and try and avoid blackouts.

The opening of the Huutokoski and Forssa reserve power plants was sparked by an outage at one of the country’s nuclear reactors and by a drop in wind power production, according to Fingrid.

“Fingrid asked the electricity market for more up-adjustment offers and the situation has been brought under control,” the operator said.

“The price of adjustment electricity is currently exceptionally high at approximately 5,000 euros/MWh,” it added.

Wholesale electricity prices have soared in Finland as they have done across Europe, since they are pegged to the cost of gas, which has rocketed due to Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine.

In May, shortly after Finland announced it wanted to join Nato, Russia announced it was stopping gas exports to Russia.

Last week, the Kremlin shut the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline, further affecting the energy market.

In response, Finland pledged 10 billion euros (£8.7bn) in liquidity guarantees to its power companies, while Sweden promised to give its firms 250 billion Swedish crowns (£20.3bn).

“The government’s programme is a last-resort financing option for companies that would otherwise be threatened with insolvency,” Finland’s prime minister Sanna Marin said.

As Finland prepared to legislate the 10 billion euro package this week, it offered a 2.35 billion euro loan to the Finnish power company Fortum to help tide it over.

European countries have accused Russia of weaponising gas supplies after Moscow was hit by Western sanctions over its war in Ukraine.

After the European Commission said it was considering a price cap on Russian gas, Vladimir Putin threatened to cut off all energy exports.

“We will not supply gas, oil, coal, heating oil – we will not supply anything,” the Russian president warned on Wednesday.

Additional reporting by Reuters

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