Building a resilient network for all weather conditions

A devastating winter storm struck Finland in December 2011, toppling trees onto power lines, and causing massive power outages at the darkest and coldest time of the year. More than half a million people lost power, some for weeks. The storm was costly for grid operators in terms of repairs, and because, under Finnish law, operators can be required to financially compensate customers for extended outages.

The storm acted as an early warning of the potential costs of extreme weather. Since that time, Finland has made security of the power supply a top priority, setting a national target of weather-proofing the grid by 2036 and creating a regulatory environment that supports grid investment and provides added incentives for innovation, quality of service and efficiency.

These developments led Finland’s largest electricity distributor, Caruna, to embark on an ambitious program to bury much of its network to protect it against future extreme weather. By 2016, about 40% of the company’s lines were underground. That share rose to around 60% by 2021, a year in which Caruna spent €140.1 million to improve its network and added 2,400 kilometers of underground lines. The company has deployed a number of digital technologies to optimize its operations and is using an AI-powered design tool to plan its network. With more lines underground, Caruna expects to experience fewer, and shorter, power outages, benefiting customers and keeping repair costs down.

Caruna has built a resilient network that has significantly improved the security of supply to thousands of customers in the face of increasingly unpredictable weather patterns. Network resilience will serve Finland well as it pursues an ambitious plan to reach carbon neutrality by 2035.

“I am very excited about the opportunity to develop the role of Caruna as a major player in the energy sector. The company is responsible for about one fifth of Finland’s electricity distribution and more than 700,000 customers. A strong and smart electricity network is also critical infrastructure for securing Finland’s security of supply, and its importance is highlighted at this point of time. OTPP shares this vision and is a key partner as we continue this journey.”

Jyrki Tammivuori, CEO,
Customs

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