Too Game-Changing? Finnish Nuclear Plant Limits Output As Electricity Becomes Too Cheap

The newly-operational Olkiluoto 3 (OL3) nuclear power plant in Finland has been forced to throttle production as the price of electricity has plunged. The plant’s operator, Teollisuuden Voima (TVO), said last week that it had reduced production by 20% in order to avoid selling electricity at a loss, according to a report from Finnish news outlet Yle.

“Electricity production must also be profitable for nuclear power plants, and when the price is particularly low, there may be situations where output is limited,” said Johanna Aho, TVO communications manager.

In the early hours of May 17, the market price for electricity dropped below zero cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh), going up to only 0.3 cents per kWh at its peak in the hours that followed.

TVO said that it had no choice but to reduce production at Olkiluoto in order to avoid losing money. The plant is one of the most expensive nuclear power plants in the world, and it is not profitable to operate at low electricity prices.

“When prices go negative on the electricity market, basically anyone who can adjust their production will do it, so that they don’t have to pay for their own production,” explained Janne Kauppi, an energy markets advisor at Finnish Energy.

Throttling the production at OL3 is likely to have a significant impact on the Finnish electricity market. The plant is one of the largest producers of electricity in Finland, and its output accounts for around 15% of the country’s total electricity consumption.

It remains to be seen whether OL3 will be able to resume full production in the near future. TVO said that it is currently assessing the situation and will make a decision on when to resume full production at the plant in the coming days.

Information for this story was found via Yle, and the sources and companies mentioned. The author has no securities or affiliations related to the organizations discussed. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.

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