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Finnish grid operator found in breach of regulation over nuclear reactor

Finnish power grid operator Fingrid acted in breach of market regulation when transferring certain obligations for the power system’s reliability to TVO, owner of the new OL3 nuclear reactor, Finland’s energy authority said on Friday.

The OL3 reactor, Europe’s biggest with a capacity to meet around 14% of Finland’s energy demand, began regular output in 2023 after 18 years of construction and testing, and years of legal battles over costs and delays.

TVO and its owners have accused Fingrid of setting “unfounded restrictions” on OL3’s power generation, and had asked the energy authority to rule on the matter.

While OL3 has a capacity of 1,600 megawatts (MW), Fingrid has set a limit of 1,300 MW for reliable grid operations. Any production above this level requires backup plans to ensure the grid remains stable should OL3 shut down unexpectedly.

It is Fingrid’s task to maintain power system stability but at times of insufficient backup capacity the grid operator has obliged TVO to lower its output to 1,300 MW, thereby effectively pushing this task over to the power plant operator.

The regulator in a statement said that while Fingrid did not breach its obligations when connecting OL3 to the grid, it had wrongly told TVO to cover the cost of backup systems, and had also failed to seek the energy authority’s approval.

Consequently, the Energy Authority asked Fingrid to submit a proposal for fees related to system protection or a proposal for another mechanism by April 11.

Source: Reuters