Finland expands energy co-operation with Russia

With Finland unveiling plans to export electricity to Russia starting next year, and the country’s leading energy group, Fortum, aiming to invest €4.2 billion in Russia by the end of 2015, the ties between the Finnish and Russian energy sector are expected to further strengthen, and Russia is poised to bolster its foothold in Finland’s energy sector.  Starting on the 1st of January, 2015, Finland and Russia will launch a two-way electricity trade, with 350 megawatts (MW) of capacity available for exports, according to the information obtained by Reuters. As the Finnish government is fostering lower energy use in the country, Finland’s dependency on electricity imports from Russia has steadily decreased over the past years, and Helsinki is now left with a surplus which can be exported to neighbouring markets.  Between 2011 and 2013, Russian annual electricity exports to Finland dropped from about 11 terawatt-hours (TWh) to some 4 TWh. Local industry representatives say that Russian imports are expected to total between 3 and 4 TWh in 2014, with most electricity expected to be imported during night hours and weekends.  Meanwhile, the structure of Finland’s total energy consumption remains highly diversified, with nuclear power representing a share of 18%, hydro and wind power generating a combined 4%, coal holding a 10% stake, wood fuels generating 26%, natural gas and oil representing a 7% and 21% share, respectively, peat generating a further 5%, and net imports of electricity and other sources covering the remaining 9%, according to data released by Statistics Finland in September, 2014.  As nuclear power generates a significant share of Finland’s energy consumption, the recent decision by [...]