EPV Energy Management business area produces services relating to energy management for EPV shareholders and the energy generation companies owned, entirely or partly, by EPV.

The EPV Energy Management business area focused on optimising energy systems and developing algorithms in 2020. EPV concentrated on advanced risk management and cyber security, which will also help to protect the energy system in the future. The electricity trading robot was automated further and preparations were made for the future 15-minute imbalance settlement period.

The EPV Energy Management business area produces energy balancing services for EPV shareholders and the energy generation companies owned, entirely and partly, by EPV.

The company’s own Operations Centre focuses on energy management and enables the development of activities and the production of cost-efficient services. EPV’s amenities for shareholders include various services concerning the shareholders’ management of wholesale power balance and the purchasing and selling of electricity in the Nordic power exchange.

Another major task of the Operations Centre is the planning and direction of EPV production companies’ production and, consequently, production optimisation in the wholesale electricity market, as well as the minimisation of costs in the imbalance power market.

Heat and electricity production was optimised in Vaasa and Seinäjoki

In 2020, the development work relating to the optimisation of both the Vaasa and Seinäjoki energy systems continued. In Vaasa, the new thermal energy storage facility in Vaskiluoto was added to the optimisation project.

EPV also developed the optimisation of hydropower production and, together with its partners, further developed advanced algorithms for wind power forecasting.

“We have provided for the 15-minute imbalance settlement period also in the forecasting algorithms,” says Vice President Reima Neva, EPV Energy Management.

According to the European electricity market integration regulations, electricity trade is shifting from the current one-hour resolution to becoming faster. The 15-minute imbalance settlement period (ISP) will be adopted in the spring of 2023. EPV’s experts are involved in several committees engaged in lobbying for the sector.

The capabilities of the electricity trading robot were broadened

EPV further developed its electricity trading robot which performs intraday transactions. The robot operates in the power exchange, selling and purchasing electricity according to specified framework conditions. Until now, the preconditions have had to be adjusted manually according to the market situation.

“This allows us to acquire incremental revenue from the flexibility of consumption and production and to reduce the cost risks of imbalance power,” Neva explains.

In 2020, the automation of electricity trading was taken a step further. The robot’s trading parameters now change automatically as the market situation changes. This makes the robot’s trading more lucrative than ever.

According to Neva, the use of robots will grow and they will become essential tools in a new kind of energy world, which is progressing in a more and more real-time direction, due to renewable energy sources.

“The robot has to adapt to these changes, but at the same time, the requirements for the competence of the Operations Centre’s personnel keep growing, because they are the ones who are capable of anticipating, controlling and, if needed, intervening in the trading activities,” he says.

Risk management helps us prepare for exceptional circumstances

EPV developed its risk management activities in case of outages. We made plans for reserve control room facilities in case of a major outage. Sufficient geographical decentralisation reduces the effects of disturbances relating to potential broader regional electricity distribution or data communications. If needed, the staff can move to backup premises.

EPV has continued its preparations for the completion of Olkiluoto 3. The arrangements made will ensure that the company will be able to activate all its dispatchable generation capacity if there are disturbances in Olkiluoto. Historically, this has happened once or twice a year, the last time being in December 2020.

“The cost effects of such disturbances are always great. However, we can reduce the cost effects to our owners through our regulation capability and large total power balance,” Neva says.

Risk management is also linked to the optimisation of the thermal energy storage facility. Should a larger disturbance take place, the heat in the thermal energy storage facility could be utilised for district heating, while more electricity than usual could be generated during the disturbance to compensate for the production deficit created in the electrical power system.

Switching to a model of one balance

In 2020, EPV made preparations to switch its operations from the model of two balances to the model of one balance, within the time frame required by the regulation, i.e. by 1 November 2021. The model of one balance in electricity trading means abandoning separate production and consumption balances and, in future, handling them in the same balance. Today in Finland and other Nordic countries, deviations in forecast production or consumption, and production or consumption confirmed afterwards, are calculated separately for production and consumption and different pricing principles are applied to deviations.

With the introduction of European harmonisation and the Nordic Balancing Model (NBM), this model will become a model of one balance. This will allow compensating for production deviations according to the same terms not only at another production plant, but also by reducing consumption. This will facilitate and simplify the commercial balancing of production and consumption when moving towards carbon-neutral electricity generation, where the significance of different types of flexibility will increase in the balancing of the electrical power system.

In the future, the optimisation of energy trade will include new elements, such as producing heating with electricity and fuels produced with electricity, which will be further used to make electricity or heat. Setting up value categories on flexibility for different types of operators under equal terms is a key part of this change.

Expanding our use of cloud services and developing our cyber security

The use of cloud services is expanding worldwide, and the information systems in our own facilities or in partners’ server rooms are regularly transferred to the system provider’s cloud services. This development is inevitable, and solutions may not even be available in any other form than as the provider’s cloud services. We must adapt to this change and make sure the best principles and data security solutions are applied in the cloud services used. Their use often requires several of our partners to manage the services and, of course, smooth cooperation.

Several information security audits were performed on the Group’s companies, and cyber security training events were organised for personnel.

“The cyber security of EPV’s data systems is crucial for our operations. That is why we make every effort to ensure that our know-how and systems are always up to date in this quickly changing cyber world,” Neva says.