Caruna renews its electricity distribution network to meet needs such as 250,000 electric cars and flexible energy consumption
The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment today released an interim report of the smart grid working group, which is developing a flexible and customer oriented electricity system. As a partner in the working group, Caruna’s emphasis is on a comprehensive solution that is built with electricity users in mind. Caruna’s own decade-long renewal programme is working towards the same goal.
The purpose of Caruna’s programme is to renovate the distribution network to meet the needs of customers and society for a long time to come.
“Technically, Caruna’s network already facilitates the foreseeable developments. For example, we know that Finland is seeking to introduce 250,000 electric cars by 2030. From last year, small scale production of renewable energy has doubled in our network, and the growth in the number of solar power systems connected to the electricity network just keeps accelerating,” says Caruna’s Development Manager Bengt Söderlund who represents Caruna in the smart grid working group.
Across its own network areas, Caruna is re-electrifying Finland, replacing a network that was installed decades ago and has now reached its technical service life. The renovation will improve reliability of electricity supply and anticipate future needs.
“There are many other, less well-known trends that we are currently looking forward to. To get some perspective, you only have to see the transformation that has taken place since the 1960s and 1970s when Finland’s current distribution network was built. The volume of energy use has multiplied and, compared to the time when Finland was first electrified, digitisation has raised the quality standards expected of energy distribution to a completely new level,” said Söderlund.
Giving customers choice and flexibility of electricity use
Sustainability of the energy system is one of the key issues to be solved, and electricity network companies are doing their part in finding solutions for it.
“For our part, we seek to ensure that there is enough electricity at any time of the year for all those who need it. The Finnish grid already enables bi-directional electricity flow. Caruna’s network improvement programme will enable the seamless harnessing of energy sources, such as virtual power stations or electric car batteries. With these and other measures, the electricity system could remain uninterrupted even when the peak loads threaten to exceed production,” said Söderlund.
Current technology is able to even out fluctuations in electricity consumption. Night-time electricity is an example of a traditional method that can be used to shift consumption according to the time of day. The development of smart grids takes these opportunities to a new level. According to Caruna, in an optimal situation customers could choose from as many options as possible to find the one that meets their individual needs.
“Thanks to modern electric meters and the services based on them, electricity users can control their own consumption. They can determine their usage level or decide when they want to use electricity for different purposes, such as heating or the hot water boiler. In the same way, they can determine the price at which they would be willing to sell energy, such as microgenerated solar power, to others. Our future is full of interesting challenges, and we are pleased to be involved in this work to solve them,” Söderlund noted.
The two-year smart grid project will continue, and Caruna keeps promoting the customer’s point of view in the working group. Several industry operators are partnering to find a comprehensive solution, and the results will be based on thorough preparation and careful consideration of each issue.