Plant Operation

Renewable Subsidies Undermining Profitability Of Nuclear In Finland, Says TVO

By David Dalton
25 February 2015

Renewable Subsidies Undermining Profitability Of Nuclear In Finland, Says TVO
The Olkiluoto-3 reactor under construction in Finland.

25 Feb (NucNet): Subsidised investments in renewable energy have led to an increase in electricity supply which, combined with increased costs, has undermined the profitability of nuclear power-produced electricity in Finland, Teollisuuden Voima Oyj (TVO) said in financial statements published today.

TVO, which owns and operates the two-unit Olkiluoto nuclear power station and is building Olkiluoto-3, said the market price of electricity has decreased. Meanwhile, cost increases have resulted from TVO being asked to contribute more to Finland’s nuclear waste fund and having to implement increased and improved security measures at Olkiluoto.

Plans to increase contributions to Finland’s nuclear waste fund, and also Finland’s nuclear safety research fee, could mean an increase in fees of €4 million per year during 2016–2020, TVO said.

There are plans for new “small” taxes on nuclear energy being discussed in Finland’s parliament, which could result in even higher costs, TVO said.

TVO said its two commercially operational Olkiluoto units achieved their best ever production volume for the second year in a row. Electricity production was 14.76 terawatt hours (TWh), accounting for 23 percent of all electricity generated in Finland and 18 percent of all electricity consumed in Finland.

Electricity consumption in Finland totalled 83.3 TWh in 2014, a decrease of 0.8 percent compared to the previous year. Production of nuclear power-generated electricity was 22.7 TWh, which accounted for 27.2 percent of consumption. Imported electricity was 21.6 percent followed by hydropower with 15.8 percent.

The company said Finland’s energy sector is in the midst of “major, rapid change” which may last for years.

TVO told NucNet last month it was finding it difficult to sell its electricity at market prices, which are around €30 per megawatt-hour (MWh), according to Nord Pool Spot market data, while other energy sources are being subsidised at levels of around €115 per MWh. There are no subsidies for nuclear in Finland.

TVO also announced last month that it is to restructure its operations in an effort to find savings of €15 million a year, again citing pressure from subsidised energy sources.

The company said delays to the Olkiluoto-3 project have caused “remarkable” additional costs leading to the need to start with these “regrettable” measures.

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