The business area of EPV Power includes the generation of hydropower and nuclear power by the companies Pohjolan Voima, Teollisuuden Voima, Voimapiha and Rapid Power.
The EPV Power business area took a leap towards emission-free energy generation. In 2018, the operating licences for the Olkiluoto nuclear power plant units 1 and 2 were extended, and the construction of unit 3 progressed. The company decided to give up its last coal-fired condensing plant. Thanks to extensive maintenance investments, the use of hydropower plants has been secured for decades.
The significance of nuclear power as a flagship for emissions-free energy generation has gained strength in the public eye. In 2018, the report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) highlighted the vital role of nuclear power in combating climate change. The European Commission also proposed striving to achieve zero net emissions by 2050, which means that for any emissions created, a corresponding amount of carbon dioxide will be removed from the atmosphere. According to VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, this is a tough but not impossible requirement, and nuclear power plays a significant role in Finland in reaching this challenging target.
EPV is a shareholder of Teollisuuden Voima (TVO). In terms of their general effect, TVO’s nuclear power plants in Olkiluoto are the single largest climate action in Finland. They are a significant step for both Finland and EPV Energy towards CO2-free production.
The electricity generation of Olkiluoto 1 and 2 in 2018 was steady without any considerable deviations. The largest tasks carried out during the annual service of Olkiluoto 1 were the renewal of the condenser and ejectors, the forward pumping of bleed and the replacement of high-pressure preheaters, feedwater spargers and recirculation pumps and the associated frequency converters. Thanks to the alteration work carried out, the nominal output of Olkiluoto 1 was raised from 880 to 890 megawatt at the turn of the year. There was a refuelling stoppage at Olkiluoto 2, and the plant’s servicing was scaled according to the duration of the replacement of fuel rods. Output at Olkiluoto 2 in 2018 was the third highest in its history.
In September 2018, the Government confirmed that the operating licences of the nuclear power plant units Olkiluoto 1 and 2 would be continued until 2038. The confirmation of continued production was an extremely important and positive piece of news.
In March 2018, TVO signed a comprehensive settlement agreement on the completion of the Olkiluoto 3 project and related disputes with the plant supplier consortium companies Areva NP, Areva GmbH and Siemens AG, as well as with Areva Group parent company Areva SA, a company wholly owned by the French State. This comprehensive settlement agreement had been eagerly anticipated. It ensured that the Olkiluoto 3 project will continue to have the financial, technical and human resources required for the completion and successful start-up of the plant. With the agreement, the companies also agreed to withdraw all ongoing legal actions relating to the Olkiluoto 3 project, including ICC arbitration.
The building work of Olkiluoto 3 proceeded, although the commissioning tests of the EPR plant unit are taking longer than planned. Plant supplier Areva-Siemens updated the schedule and postponed the start-up of the new plant unit by four months. According to the updated schedule, regular electricity production in the unit will commence in January 2020.
Although the delay is unfortunate, what is most important now is to have in use a modern and safe nuclear power plant.
Giving up the coal-fired condensing plant was the second step towards CO2-free production
In the summer of 2018, TVO and its stakeholders, including EPV, agreed on the ownership of the shares entitling them to output of the Meri-Pori power plant. As part of this arrangement, EPV gave up its shares to the Meri-Pori coal-fired condensing plant at the end of the year. Meri-Pori was EPV’s last share in a coal-fired condensing plant and abandoning it is a continuum of EPV’s target for CO2-free production. Previous years already saw the closing down and dismantling of the Mussalo coal-fired condensing plant and closing down the production activity of the coal-fired condensing plants in Kristinestad and Tahkoluoto.
The dry summer reduced hydroelectric power production
The summer of 2018 was fairly dry in the Nordic countries, which lowered the output of the entire year at EPV’s hydroelectric power shares in Sweden and Finland below a long-term historic normal. In Norway, the output of the whole year slightly exceeded the historical normal output.
EPV Energy holds hydropower shares in Finland through PVO-Vesivoima, in Sweden through Voimapiha and in Norway through Rapid Power. Rapid Power’s hydroelectric power production in Norway is based on a 15-year leasing contract on the Rana hydroelectric power station. The leasing contract will expire at the end of 2019. Extensive maintenance investments were made in several of Voimapiha’s plants. An extensive reconstruction investment was completed at the Midskogen plant, where a turbine and generator, among others, were replaced. The reconstruction raised the plant’s operating efficiency and maximum output and will also secure the use of the plant for the next 40 years.
Generator maintenance work was carried out at Rapid Power’s hydroelectric power station in Rana, Norway in 2018. In addition, the electric and automation systems of the Raasakka hydroelectric power plant, which belong to EPV’s associated company Pohjolan Voima, were renewed in 2018, which will safeguard its production capacity and adjustability for the next 15–20 years.
LNG import terminal was made ready to use
The commissioning tests of the Manga LNG import terminal in Tornio were under way at the end of 2018, which is a step towards starting the normal commercial use of the terminal over the course of 2019. Gas supplies for EPV started in the autumn of 2018.