February 8, 2018 / 4:40 PM / 10 months ago

Nordic grids break deadlock in power balancing talks

OSLO, Feb 8 (Reuters) - Nordic grid operators, after months of stalled talks on a new system to balance the region’s power supply and demand, have agreed on a model that will keep a national veto, two of the grids said.

The Danish, Norwegian, Swedish and Finnish grid operators, having failed to come up with a joint proposal by a Jan. 15 regulatory deadline, risked leaving it up to the European Commission to intervene and break the deadlock.

Finland was in danger of being left out of the agreement, having in November dismissed a proposal by its neighbours to allow decisions on handling power imbalances by majority vote, scrapping the veto option for grids that disagree.

Finland’s Fingrid and Norway’s Statnett said there was now a willingness from all parties to find a common way forward.

“Decisions will be made on consent ... It seems we have found a good way to go forward. We have to forget the dark period,” Jukka Ruusunen, Fingrid chief executive told Reuters.

“There will be unanimity in the decision making. We agreed this to move the process forward,” Henrik Glette, a spokesman for Stattnet told Reuters.

Finland imports up to a fifth of its electricity at times of peak winter demand, and being outside the deal would have created uncertainty over its power security, key for its energy-hungry industrial sector.

Industry lobby group Finnish Energy in January warned of a higher risk that local firms may have to cut their power usage.

A common balancing system will secure Finland with a flexible mechanism when in need of extra power.

The five operators, Svenska Kraftnat, Fingrid, Statnett, Energinet and Kraftnat Aland, signed a memorandum of understanding and will come up with a joint proposal by March.

However, the MoU, seen by Reuters, does not constitute a legally binding agreement. (Editing by David Evans)

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