Finland opposes restrictions on the Swedish electricity grid

The Swedish electricity grid does not live up to EU rules. Now the Finns have soured properly. “I have never seen an authority write such a powerful no,” says Magnus Thorstensson, analyst at Energiföretagen.

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The restrictions in the transmissions in the Swedish electricity system with a higher price as a result do not only upset southerners. Our neighbors also have opinions. Finns have reacted strongly to the fact that Svenska Kraftnät does not live up to the rules within the EU – that at least 70 percent of a country’s grid capacity can be used for electricity trade between countries.

The Finnish supervisory authority, the Swedish Energy Agency, considers that Svenska Kraftnät has no basis for its application for an exemption from the rules:

“The authority considers that the fact that the company (Svenska Kraftnät) has in fact already limited capacity in violation of the regulation does not provide grounds for continuing with the offense,” the Finnish Energy Agency writes in a statement at the Swedish regulator’s (Energy Market Inspectorate) request.

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Limitations make a difference

It is words and not songs, thinks the Swedish energy industry, which has its own views on the limitations of the networks.

– All restrictions Svenska Kraftnät makes mean that there will be price differences, says Magnus Thorstensson at Energiföretagen.

The thing is that Swedish electricity producers want as free trade as possible to be able to sell electricity where it is best paid, which does not always benefit consumers.

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– It is not the case that we choose this. We have to reduce the flow through Sweden in order for us to have good operational reliability so that people get electricity in Sweden, says Erik Ek, strategic operations manager at Svenska Kraftnät.

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The background is a changed electricity mix, both type and regionally, with decommissioned nuclear power reactors in Ringhals. This means that the flows have to go west and south to a greater extent than before.

– And when this is put on the lines, there is not much room for transit, for example from Finland, through Sweden and down to Denmark and out to the continent, says Erik Ek.

Although these changes have been known for a long time, says Magnus Thorstensson.

– Either they have misunderstood something or they ignore the regulations. It is a bit embarrassing for the Swedish government that they have an authority that ignores the European regulations, he says.

What does Svenska Kraftnät think about the Finns’ reaction:

– I would also be angry, we have agreed on a foreign connection between us that we have both invested in, and then you can only use parts of the capacity, says Ek.

How much is it used for?

– It is used to a large extent. But it is going in the other direction. So now this is not a problem, but (it will be) when production increases in Finland, which it will do, says Erik Ek.

So this does not affect electricity prices in southern Sweden?

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– No, I would say that it does not because the electricity does not go in that direction, he says.

However, the limited flows to Denmark and Norway may affect the price, but not negatively for Swedish electricity customers. More imports lower the price, more exports raise the same, according to Erik Ek.

– If we were to export more power to other countries, yes, then we would get a higher electricity price.

The issue is now being dealt with by Acer, the European regulators’ co-operation organization.

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