Energy networks as the backbone of Finland
A substantial amount of energy is constantly transmitted in Finland’s electricity and district heating networks and natural gas pipelines. The Finnish electricity network extends to a total of just over 400,000 kilometres, and the district heating network is just under 15,000 kilometres and the natural gas pipeline about 1,800 kilometres long.
The purpose of the electricity network is to transmit the electricity produced in power plants to electricity users. There are over three million electricity users and hundreds of power plants generating electricity in Finland. Finland also has power transmission links to Sweden, Norway, Russia and Estonia. Finland’s electricity network is part of the European power system and electricity market.
At the end of the 1960s, most of Finland was electrified, and at the beginning of the 1980s the electricity grid covered the entire country. The electricity grid is currently subject to strong investment. Total investments by the end of the 2020s will exceed EUR 8 billion. In practice, the distribution networks are being rebuilt to a large extent. At the same time, the network structure will change when overhead lines are replaced with underground cables.
The district heating pipes consist of the supply pipe and the return pipe. In the supply pipe, heat is transmitted from the production plant to customers, and in the return pipe the district heating water cooled in the customer’s premises returns to the production plant for reheating.
The district heating network extends to all towns and larger population centres in Finland. It is extended each year by 250–500 kilometres. The security of heat supply is almost 100 per cent; on average, the heat supply to a customer is interrupted for less than 2 hours per year.