Energy Industry Says Olkiluoto 3's Long Maintenance Outage Increases Power Costs – We Ask Why Maintenance Is Being Done Now | Homeland

The CEO of the power sector did not want to estimate how much the maintenance ban would affect the cost of electricity. It is influenced by the weather and, for example, by wind power.

Olkiluoto 3 nuclear power plant in May 2023. Photo: Jari Pelkonen / Yle

A maintenance outage at the Olkiluoto 3 nuclear power plant has a significant impact on Finland's electricity production.

Olkiluto 3 was cut off from power generation on Saturday. The maintenance work is estimated to last 37 days.

We asked the CEO of Energy Industries From Jukka LeskelaWhy is maintenance being done now and does it affect electricity prices?

1. Why was Olkiluoto 3 not maintained during the summer when the weather would have been warmer than it is now?

“Nuclear plant maintenance is planned for a very long time. This too was planned a year and a half ago. The new facility has been operational for a year. It is important that it is served now.

Workplaces can have thousands of people from dozens of different companies and countries.

Such large maintenance sites are planned to go hand in hand with the maintenance of Swedish nuclear power plants. It looked like we could get this maintenance by March itself.

2. Why is maintenance 37 days?

“Of course, there are many things discovered in a new plant that need to be inspected and maintained to ensure reliable and safe operation of the plant. In Finland, maintenance of nuclear power plants usually only takes three weeks.”

A bespectacled man with a scarf around his neck stands outside and looks straight into the camera.

Jukka Leskela, CEO of the Department of Energy, did not want to estimate how big of an impact the maintenance ban would have on electricity prices. Photo: Mimmi Nietula / Yle

3. What are the effects of maintenance ban on electricity prices?

“When such a large generating plant is out of production, if nothing else, it has the effect of increasing the cost of electricity compared to when the plant was in use.

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The price effect depends on the other situation of electricity supply and demand.

If there is high electricity demand and even little wind, when wind power is not available, the price effect can be huge. “If there is a situation where electricity consumption is not high and there is good availability of wind power, the price impact is almost negligible.”

4. What types of price effects are most likely to occur?

“I won't say how many cents or kilowatt hours it is.

During the maintenance period, there will certainly be all kinds of weather conditions. Sometimes it is calm and the demand for electricity can be very high, sometimes it is very windy and mild spring weather.

Electricity consumers, especially electricity distributors, should monitor electricity prices. Electricity prices vary significantly in March.”

5. Can there be an insufficient power supply situation during a maintenance outage?

“Without the cold weather coming in March, it seems there will be at least a direct concern about the adequacy of electricity.

A power link between Finland and Estonia went down at the same time. If there are other faults, one can imagine a shortage situation where there is a power shortage. Now there is no reason to think that such a situation is threatening.”

In January, Yle's A-Talk discussed the cost of electricity and its adequacy.

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