Empower helps ensure the availability of electricity
Summer 2018 was exceptionally warm in Finland. Following an extended period of hot weather, the use of air conditioning and cooling meant that electricity consumption was at a reasonably high level. In July, an equipment malfunction at Fingrid’s Olkiluoto substation caused a fire and damaged the control cabling, which resulted in Teollisuuden Voima’s Olkiluoto 2 electricity production being disconnected from the grid. With Olkiluoto 1 also disconnected from the grid shortly thereafter, a sixth of Finland’s entire electricity production capacity went offline unexpectedly.
As Finland’s transmission system operator, Fingrid is responsible for balancing the electricity system and ensuring the adequate supply of electricity in Finland. The fault at the substation was reported immediately and the situation was assessed based on video feeds.
– We immediately dispatched personnel to the scene and the rapid response meant that the fire was safely extinguished, says Arto Pahkin, Main Grid Control Center Manager at Fingrid. When Teollisuuden Voima’s electricity production in Olkiluoto was disconnected from the grid, we ensured the adequate supply of electricity and evaluated the status of our reserve systems. Our contingency plans for these types of disruptions include the use of hydroelectric power and gas turbine plants, which provide regulating power on short notice.
Once the fire had been put out in Eurajoki, the damage to the substation was assessed and the focus then shifted to getting Teollisuuden Voima’s power plants in Olkiluoto reconnected to the grid.
– The reliability of the power grid is very important for us, and the Finnish transmission system has historically been highly reliable. Teollisuuden Voima’s power plants are set up to be quickly disconnected from the grid in the event of a disturbance. Reconnecting them is always a slow process that involves reviewing the reason for the disconnection and ensuring that operations can be resumed safely. The target for Teollisuuden Voima’s production plants is to generate electricity around the clock. When production was interrupted, it was important for us that the response was quick and corrective action was taken rapidly, says Juha Poikola, Manager, Public Relations and Responsibility at Teollisuuden Voima.
"This exceptional incident occurred in the middle of the busiest summer holiday season, but Empower’s professionals were quick to respond and they showed an excellent level of commitment to resolving the situation. The work was efficiently managed and Empower demonstrated its high level of professional expertise by highlighting solutions and ideas at the site."
Empower played a key role in the repairs at the substation to ensure the adequate supply of electricity. The transmission system was kept well-balanced during the disruption and the quick response meant that the situation was resolved without having to start up reserve power plants. Pahkin is satisfied with Empower’s response at the site.
– This exceptional incident occurred in the middle of the busiest summer holiday season, but Empower’s professionals were quick to respond and they showed an excellent level of commitment to resolving the situation. The work was efficiently managed and Empower demonstrated its high level of professional expertise by highlighting solutions and ideas at the site. Even though there were people from nearly ten different organizations at the site, they all worked together in an exemplary fashion. The positive atmosphere between everyone involved made it easier to deal with the long days. The power plants were reconnected to the transmission system within a couple of days of the incident, Pahkin concludes.