1.5 Capital expenditure

The company’s total capital expenditure in 2019 amounted to EUR 135.6 (92.7) million. This included a total of EUR 103.4 (85.1) million invested in the transmission grid and EUR 5.5 (2.9) million for reserve power. ICT investments amounted to EUR 25.6 (4.0) million. A total of EUR 3.4 (3.6) million was used for R&D projects during the year under review. The most significant construction projects during the year were the Iron Lady II (Hikiä-Orimattila), the grid reinforcing measures in North Karelia and the construction work at the Olkiluoto, Nurmijärvi, Jyväskylä, Inkoo and Koria substations. The costliest of all ICT investments was the centralised information exchange system for electricity retail markets, Datahub, which the company is currently building. 
 
Finland’s main grid turned 90 in 2019. The electricity transmission grid is constructed and maintained with the needs of a clean power system in mind. Investments and maintenance are carried out safely, efficiently and in a timely manner. The proportion of wind power will be substantially increased in Finland going forward. It is Fingrid’s duty to ensure that the planned production capacity can be connected to the power system and the electricity market. Investments and maintenance are carried out safely, efficiently and in a timely manner. 

The main grid is being reinforced both between Finland and Sweden and in Finland along the north-south axis. The Coastal Line from North Ostrobothnia to Pori has been completed, the Forest Line from Oulu to Petäjävesi is under construction and the reinforcement of the Lake Power Line from North Ostrobothnia to Kuopio is at the planning stage. All of the constructed transmission connections are major investments, necessary for the transmission grid that serves as a platform for the clean energy of the future.

By international standards, grid asset management at Fingrid is world-class. In spring 2019, the company once again placed at the top in the International Transmission Asset Management Study (ITAMS).

Fingrid’s asset management has been certified according to ISO 55001:2014. The certification was granted to Fingrid for the first time in 2016, and again by Lloyd’s Register Verification Limited in autumn 2019. 

In accordance with the company’s land use and environmental policy, the objective of main grid investments and maintenance is to reduce life-cycle environmental impacts. In 2019, the statutory environmental impact assessment (EIA) was initiated for the projects related to the transmission line between Huittinen and Forssa and Sweden’s third AC connection between Muhos and Ylitornio. In addition, three environmental assessments were completed. An expropriation permit ruling entitling to the construction and maintenance of the transmission line was received for four projects, the most significant of which was the Forest Line, running for more than 300 kilometres from Central Finland to Oulu. 

Grid planning requires international and national co-operation between the various parties. Fingrid was also involved in devising the plan. In autumn 2019, the Nordic transmission system operators published a Nordic grid plan, under which the Nordic TSOs will have on-going investment projects worth around EUR 15 billion in total by 2028.

The planning of the Finnish main grid is dominated by a transition from fossil fuels towards electricity production with zero carbon dioxide emissions, in other words the connection of wind and nuclear power. Fingrid also published a main grid development plan 2019–2030 in autumn 2019. The development plan sets forth Fingrid’s main grid planning principles, grid development needs and planned investments for the next 10-year period. 

In 2019, power lines and substations were built extensively throughout Finland. A total of approximately 150 kilometres of new transmission lines were built, and 12 new or expanded substations were completed. The most significant on-going construction projects are related to the Forest Line, the third AC connection between Finland and Sweden and the construction work around the Oulujoki river: 

  • The Olkiluoto substation’s ageing 400 kilovolt switching station at Eurajoki was replaced by two separate switching stations. The changes improved the Olkiluoto nuclear power plant units’ grid connection reliability, ensuring that the units can supply electricity to the system with no disturbances. The work was completed in November 2019. 

  • The renewal of the transmission line dubbed the Iron Lady continued. The construction of the 400 + 110 kilovolt transmission line between Hikiä and Orimattila focussed on the Hikiä (Hausjärvi)–Metsämarttila (Kärkölä) section. Iron Lady II was completed in December 2019. 

  • Fingrid’s most significant and largest project is called the Forest Line, which runs from Oulu to Petäjävesi. The connection will increase the transmission capacity along the north-south axis, and it will be completed in 2019–2022. The construction project has been divided into six separate subprojects, for which procurement agreements were made during the year under review. 

  • A third AC connection (RAC3) between Finland and Sweden which is important for the Nordic electricity market has proceeded as planned, in co-operation with Sweden’s TSO. An EIA is being carried out for the transmission line from northern Finland to northern Sweden. In 2019, the project received more than EUR 4 million in financial support from the EU for the technical assessment phase. The cross-border transmission connection is due for completion in 2025. 

  • A digital substation project will be implemented in Pernoonkoski, Kotka, in an effort to gain experience in the utilisation of a digital fieldbus in the substation environment. The aim is to create a digitalised substation that is safe, environmentally sustainable, remote controlled and provides excellent cost effectiveness in terms of both capex and operational costs. The Pernoonkoski substation is due for completion in 2020.

  • The construction of Fingrid’s new Imatra substation related to Iron Lady II is underway near the Imatra hydropower plant. The new substation will be commissioned in autumn 2020.

  • Tampereen Sähköverkko, Elenia and Fingrid are together upgrading the Tampere area’s electricity network. An electricity network development plan was drawn up for the area, as a result of which Tampere will receive a 110 kilovolt transmission line to meet the area’s electricity needs. The transmission line will be built in 2019–2020. The solution jointly developed by the three companies is cost-effective and has minimal environmental impacts. 

  • In the Oulujoki river area, two substations will be renewed and one will be expanded, and a new transmission line will be built. The transmission line is an important part of reinforcing the planned Lake Line towards eastern Finland. 

  • In order to secure the Helsinki region’s electricity supply, a new type of operating model is being developed, in which the City of Helsinki, the region’s distribution network company Helen Sähköverkko and Fingrid collaborate to carry out an infrastructure project that will serve the Helsinki region’s electricity supply and facilitate land use. Fingrid is preparing to build a new 400-kilovolt cable link from Länsisalmi in Vantaa to Viikinmäki, with plans to have it up and running in the latter half of the 2020s. During the year under review, Fingrid, the City of Helsinki and Helen Sähköverkko together drew up a review of the specified transmission solution, based on which detailed planning can be started. Based on a decision issued by the Uusimaa Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment, an EIA is not required in a 400-kilovolt cable development project.

Of the future transmission line projects, five are in the general planning phase. They will proceed to the construction phase within the next few years in accordance with the main grid development plan.

During the year under review, Fingrid launched an aerial photography project on the main grid, in which all of the company’s transmission lines will be photographed and laser-scanned. The data obtained will be utilised extensively, from grid documentation to the analysis of the trees on the edges of power line right-of-ways. The collected data will help plan and implement necessary measures efficiently and safely. 

Fingrid owns ten reserve power plants with a constant start-up readiness of 15 minutes. In 2019, an upgrade project was completed at the Naantali reserve power plant, with the main objective of improving environmental and fire safety. During the year under review, the planning of an upgrade project concerning the Vanaja reserve power plant was started.

One of Fingrid’s long-term goals is to improve the occupational safety culture and in this way achieve its zero accident objective. In 2019, Fingrid’s own personnel had no lost-time workplace accidents (0). A total of 7 (4) lost-time workplace accidents were recorded among Fingrid’s service providers. Among the lost-time accidents, one led to an absence of more than 30 days from work and was classified as serious. In addition, one workplace accident was classified as serious, because it caused a permanent impairment to the service provider’s employee. The suppliers’ and Fingrid’s combined accident frequency rate increased from the previous year to 5.5 (3.2)/million worked hours.