Finland blocks undersea cable plans

Dec 20, 2006 01:00 AM

Finland's Ministry for Trade and Industry blocked plans for an undersea cable to feed Russian electricity to Finland, saying that it would undermine the Nordic country's efforts to boost its own power production.
The ministry rejected an application to build the cable by Finnish-Russian firm United Power, which argued its 1,000-MW link in the Gulf of Finland would cut power costs for Finnish industry and make the country more competitive.

Finland's Trade and Industry Minister Mauri Pekkarinen listed several reasons for turning down the application.
"The applicant has not been able to prove that there would be a sufficiently undisturbed supply of electricity in all situations," he said. But he said the main concern was that the Finnish parliament had set a goal of increasing domestically generated power.

"Perhaps the most important issue in respect of the end-result to the permit consideration has been the impact of a submarine cable on electrical self-sufficiency," Pekkarinen said.
On the plus side, Pekkarinen said the cable project would have reduced power prices somewhat in Finland.

United Power's project had previously won backing from the energy-hungry Finnish industry, but grid operator Fingrid has said it is concerned that Russia has no spare capacity and that the cable would require costly investments.
Fingrid said earlier this year that the cable plan could lead to blackouts, as the Russian and St Petersburg regional power system is already operating at a maximum.

Source: The Moscow Times
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