Finland Warns of Possible Power Outages This Winter
05:12 GMT 18.07.2022 (Updated: 20:56 GMT 19.10.2022)
Finland may find itself in a pinch this winter after having Russian gas deliveries cut off following a refusal to pay in rubles, as demanded by Moscow. According to power operator Fingrid, the Nordic country may face rotary power outages lasting a maximum of two hours each.
Amid towering fears of a historically difficult winter across Europe due to a combination of scarce deposits, bottlenecks in supplies, the absence of Russian fuels and the failure of the “Green switch”, Finland has warned of possible power outages.
While stressing that disconnections and blackouts are the last resort and only expected to be used in emergency situations, power operator Fingrid nevertheless warned that the country may face local power outages lasting no more than two hours each.
The outages will be planned in advance and performed on a rotary basis, which means they are directed to local electricity networks in different parts of the country depending on supply and demand, national broadcaster Yle reported.
Experts say that the fate of Finland's winter is hinging on the Olkiluoto 3 nuclear reactor. Minister of Economic Affairs Mika Lintilä estimated that the reactor would produce electricity at full capacity in September.
The EU in general is heavily reliant on Russian fossil fuels, with Moscow supplying some 40 percent of its natural gas and some 27 percent of its imported oil before the conflict in Ukraine.
Despite this substantial level of dependence, the EU said no to Russian fossil fuels as part of its massive sanctions package over Russia's special operation in Ukraine. However, trouble with alternative energy sources arose, which is why regulation and restrictions in the energy sector are increasingly seen as a possible solution across the continent, with nations devising emergency plans in case of disrupted supplies. Among others, Germany has already moved closer to gas rationing. Last month, the country triggered the “alarm” stage of an emergency gas plan to deal with shortages, amid fears of dwindling energy supplies.
Furthermore, numerous EU members such as Poland, Bulgaria, Finland, Denmark and the Netherlands have had their Russian gas deliveries suspended due to their refusal to pay in rubles, a measure introduced to counter sanctions. In a bid to alleviate the problem, Finland in particular switched to the Baltic Link pipeline and leased a US floating LNG terminal.
Earlier, Shell’s CEO Ben van Beurden predicted a “tough winter” in Europe, adding that Europe may need to ration its energy consumption amid a “significant escalation in energy prices”.
As of now, Europe’s gas stocks are merely 62 percent full, and there are fears that meeting the target of at least 80 percent for winter will be difficult.