EPV Energy Ltd (EPV) is a company specialised in energy procurement and it operates on an absorption costing principle. The aim is to supply the owners with competitive electricity and to ensure inexpensive power procurement in a changing operating environment. The company’s strategic objective is that the energy procurement should be both emission-free and competitive. The energy procurement is mainly transacted through the generation shares owned by the company and through its own production. In 2020, EPV acquired a total of 3,850 (4,343) GWh of electricity. This corresponds to 4.8 (5.0) per cent of the overall electricity consumption in Finland.
Events during the financial year
According to preliminary statistics, the consumption of electricity in the Nordic countries in 2020 was 2.5 per cent lower than the previous year, at 383 (392) TWh. In 2020, Finnish electricity consumption was 80.9 (86.1) TWh, which means a decrease of approximately 6.0 per cent compared to 2019. The industrial share of the consumed electricity was 46 per cent and other consumption 54 per cent. Last year, industrial consumption decreased by 8.2 per cent, while consumption in other sectors decreased by 3.8 per cent. The losses stood for approximately 3 per cent of the overall electricity consumption.
In 2020, 18.5 per cent of power procurement was covered by imports and 81.5 per cent by domestic generation. Nuclear power covered approximately 27.6 per cent of the consumed electricity, combined generation of heat and power (CHP) 21.9, hydropower 19.3 and other separate production 2.7 per cent. The share of wind power was 9.6 per cent. As a newer form of power generation included in the statistics, the share of solar power was 0.3 per cent. Net imports of electricity from Sweden grew by 17 per cent. Imports from Russia declined by as much as 63 per cent compared to the previous year, resulting in the lowest level in 30 years. Net exports of electricity to Estonia almost doubled, totalling 6.6 TWh. As a result of these changes, Finnish net imports of electricity decreased by 25 per cent compared to the previous year, amounting to 14.9 TWh.
The snow and water reserves, i.e. the hydrological balance, of the Nordic countries remained above the long-term average almost throughout 2020. The fluctuations relating to hydropower generation are clearly depicted in the fact that, over the year, the hydrological balance went from up to 26 TWh above the long-term average down to 3 TWh below the long-term average. At the beginning of the year, the reserves were 3 TWh below the average level and at the end of the year 11 TWh above the average level. By the turn of the year, Nordic water reserves were approximately 99 TWh in total.
In 2020, CO2 emissions from Finnish energy genvoeration were 4.1 million tonnes, which is 24 per cent less than the previous year. The decline in carbon dioxide emissions is mainly due to the exceptionally warm year. The long-term investments made by companies in this sector also reflect the change in total emissions. Up to 85 per cent of the electricity generated in Finland last year was free from CO2 emissions. The share of renewable energy sources was 51 per cent of the electricity generated, and domestic fuels covered 55 per cent.
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the spring of 2020 saw EPV switching over to remote working for all employees whose duties allowed them to work from home. The operating conditions of remote working were improved over the year, particularly as regards the tools available. Ergonomics were also taken into account as much as possible. As regards power plant and grid operations, business continued as normal, with the exception that safety practices were reviewed to make sure they meet the instructions of the authorities. We have fully observed the instructions provided by the authorities and regularly checked them for any changes.
In 2020, 31.8 per cent of EPV’s electricity supply came from nuclear power, 22.5 per cent from wind power, 22.5 per cent from combined heat and power (CHP) and 11.4 per cent from hydropower. The share of market price electricity was 11.8 per cent. The share of pure condensing power in EPV’s electricity supply has become zero.
In 2020, CO2 emissions from EPV’s electricity supply were 0.51 million tonnes, which is 22 per cent less than the previous year. Up to 85 per cent of the electricity generated by EPV and under EPV’s production shares last year was free from CO2 emissions. The share of renewable energy sources was 44 per cent of the electricity generated, and domestic fuels covered 85 per cent.
The total production volume of the Olkiluoto 1 and 2 nuclear power plants of the associated company Teollisuuden Voima Oyj (TVO) in 2020 was 14,587 (14,751) GWh, which is the fourth highest sum total in the company’s history. In addition to the normal annual maintenance periods, both plants had one significant outage that required a cold shutdown. EPV’s direct interest in Teollisuuden Voima is 6.6 per cent, and 956 (965) GWh of energy was acquired in proportion to this share.
According to the new schedule provided by TVO in August 2020 and announced by the plant supplier, the plant unit Olkiluoto 3 will be connected for the first time to the national grid in October 2021 and regular electricity generation will begin in February 2022.
EPV Windpower Ltd (100%) focuses on building wind farms and generating wind electricity in the coastal areas of Ostrobothnia and inland. The wind power stations in operation owned by EPV Windpower are located in Torkkola in Vaasa (16 turbines), Santavuori in Ilmajoki (17 turbines), Metsälä in Kristinestad (34 turbines) and Paskoonharju in Teuva (2 turbines). The company is in the process of building the Paskoonharju 2 wind power station (21 turbines) in Teuva. Additionally, EPV Windpower holds some legally valid building permits for new power stations. EPV Windpower Ltd had its best production year ever in terms of production volume, exceeding the previous year’s record by 14 per cent. In 2020, the company’s total electricity supply to EPV was 775 (678) GWh.
Affiliated company (50%) Rapid Power Oy’s hydroelectric power production in Norway has been based on a 15-year leasing contract on the Rana hydroelectric power station. This leasing contract expired at the end of 2019. In 2020, the company’s total electricity supply to EPV was 0 (512) GWh.
The associated company Pohjolan Voima Oyj is a power procurement company which operates on an absorption costing principle, supplying electricity to its owners at cost price. EPV’s interest in Pohjolan Voima is 5.5 (5.5) per cent and a total of 442 (434) GWh of electricity was acquired accordingly.
The subsidiary Seinäjoen Voima Oy’s (100%) business operations began in March 2018. In 2020, the total electricity supply of the company’s power plant in Seinäjoki amounted to 299 (431) GWh. The plant generated a total of 361 (425) GWh of district heating. During the annual maintenance period of the Seinäjoki power plant, in addition to the normal inspection and maintenance tasks, work was carried out in preparation to making changes to the power plant boiler’s overfire air ducting and the lime feed system was renewed in anticipation of future environmental requirements, as in the previous year.
Electricity generation in 2020 at the Vaskiluoto 2 power plant belonging to the affiliated company Vaskiluodon Voima Oy (50%) was 501 (679) GWh. The plant generated a total of 269 (422) GWh of district heating. On the basis of its interest, EPV acquired a total of 233 (311) GWh of electrical energy. In addition to the normal inspection and maintenance during the Vaasa power plant’s annual maintenance period, work was carried out in preparation to making changes to the power plant boiler’s overfire air ducting in anticipation of the tightening emission caps on nitrogen oxides. On 1 November 2020, the company put the thermal energy storage facility leased from Vaasan Voima Oy into operation.
Voimapiha Oy (17%) generates hydropower electricity in Sweden. Through its wholly-owned subsidiary Voimapiha AB, Voimapiha Oy holds 25.7 per cent of Vattenfall Kraftgården Ab’s share capital. The hydropower plants owned by Vattenfall Kraftgården are located on the River Indalsälven, one of the most significant hydropower reserves in Sweden, in which Voimapiha has approximately 161 MW of generation power, which corresponds to approximately 866 GWh of average annual output. The quantity of electricity supplied by Voimapiha in 2020 was a new record for this company. During its seventh complete year of operation, Voimapiha Oy supplied EPV with 323 (283) GWh of hydropower electricity generated in Sweden. The real estate tax on hydropower plants has been gradually reduced in Sweden between 2017 and 2020. This has been a positive for Swedish hydroelectric power producers, as real estate tax is a significant cost item in the generation of hydropower.
A subsidiary of EPV (100%), Tornion Voima Oy generates electricity and heat in connection with the steelworks in Tornio. Of the energy generated at the plant, CHP is supplied to EPV, district heating and process steam to the Tornio steelworks and district heating to Tornion Energia Oy. The total electricity supply to EPV was 153 (172) GWh.
Raahen Voima Oy is EPV’s affiliated company (25%), which generates electricity and heat by the Raahe steelworks. Of the energy generated at the plant, CHP is supplied to EPV, electricity, district heat and process steam to Raahe steelworks and district heat to Raahen Energia Oy. In 2020, its total electricity supply to EPV was 122 (129) GWh, which is the lowest output in the company’s recent history. A key reason for this were the interruptions of production which took place at the steelworks.
Rajakiiri Oy’s (65%) wind power station in Tornio had its best production year ever in terms of production volume, exceeding the previous year’s record by 20 per cent. The total electricity generation of the company was 152 (126) GWh, of which 93 (78) GWh were supplied to EPV.
Suomen Merituuli Oy is an associated company whose objective is to build future offshore wind power plants in the Gulf of Finland and the Gulf of Bothnia. The company has development projects for offshore wind power. EPV’s interest in the company is 50 per cent.
Vaasan Voima Oy (100%) was founded in 2019. The company built a thermal energy storage (TES) facility in Vaskiluoto, Vaasa, utilising old underground oil storage caverns. The TES facility has a charge and discharge capacity of approximately 100 MW and a storage capacity of approximately 7–9 GWh. The investment costs amounted to approximately EUR 5 million, and the system became ready for technical use in the spring of 2020, after which the TES facility’s first charge was begun. During the summer months, the facility will store heat for Vaasan Sähkö, capitalising on the waste heat created in the Vaasa region. In the winter, the TES facility will be used by Vaskiluodon Voima. In the long run, this investment will also allow for more flexible use of wind and solar power than before in producing heat, while maintaining the possibility of making use of the waste heat created in the Vaasa region.
Regional grid company
The subsidiary EPV Alueverkko Oy (100%) practices electricity transmission and network operations mainly in the power transmission network it owns in Ostrobothnia, South Ostrobothnia, Tornio, Kokkola and Iijoki. The amount of energy transmitted for consumption via EPA’s transmission network in 2020 was 4,972 (5,391) GWh. The company’s network received 3,340 (2,913) GWh of electrical energy from generation plants to be transferred for consumption and to the main grid. Several new network projects were completed during the year, and one new customer was connected to the network. In accordance with the arrangement between PVO-Vesivoima Oy and EPA, the ownership of the Maalismaa power station was transferred to EPA on 1 March 2020. A significant amount of wind power generation in the Ostrobothnia and South Ostrobothnia regions has been connected to EPA’s electricity network. In addition, there are several wind power plants under construction, pending a permit and authorised in the network area. In order to meet its obligation to connect regional and distribution networks and power plants to its network, as stipulated by the Finnish Electricity Market Act, the company has several power line and power station projects in the pipeline, and the investment decisions for these will progress in accordance with future transmission needs.
The completed financial year was the first year of the Energy Market Authority’s fifth regulatory period for network operations (2020–2023). The past year’s permitted yield inclines slightly towards overproduction, according to a preliminary calculation. The cumulative permitted yield of the regulatory period’s first year and the previous regulatory period shows underproduction, according to the calculation.
The purpose of EPV Tase Oy (100%) is to provide balance-related services for EPV’s owners and the energy generation companies owned, entirely or partly, by EPV. The company’s operations during the accounting period lived up to expectations, although its turnover was lower than the previous year.
Suomen Energiavarat Oy (SEV) was established for a specific purpose. As a shareholder in Vapo Oy, its aim is to develop Vapo’s operations with the strategic goal of increasing the shareholder value. EPV owns all of SEV’s Series A shares and 3.9 per cent of its Series B shares.
During the financial year, Vapo has agreed to sell its subsidiary Nevel Oy to the French investment company Ardian. The debt-free price for Nevel was approximately EUR 656 million. As the use of energy peat decreases and as a result of the Nevel transaction, the strategic importance of being a shareholder in Vapo will be re-evaluated.
EPV Bioturve Oy’s (100%) main focus has lain in peat production and the bio energy trade. Thanks to the favourable circumstances of last summer and autumn, peat production yielded moderate results. The quality of bio energy supply also remained good. Within environmental peat business activities, land areas subject to the right of lease and compliant with purchase agreements produced a total of 197,000 m3 of environmental peat and peat bedding, among others. During the financial year, the company recognised a non-recurring impairment of MEUR 0.57 for peat resources. The impairment is directed at peat resources’ fuel peat, whose expected income has decreased significantly.
During the financial year of EPV Teollisuusverkot Oy (90%), EPV Teollisuusverkot Oy and Outokumpu Stainless Oy agreed on a significant rearrangement of network property, whereby the ownership and the obligation of use and maintenance of the Keminmaa-Sellee 400 kV power line, Sellee 400/110 kV power station and 400/110 kV transformer will be transferred to EPV Teollisuusverkot. The arrangement also included a cooperation agreement between the parties, according to which EPV Teollisuusverkot will carry out an expansion of the Sellee power station. The expansion includes a new 400/110 kV transformer in parallel connection and the necessary switchyards, as well as another 110 kV power line between Sellee and Röyttä.
The subsidiary Vaskiluodon Teollisuuskiinteistöt Oy (100%) operates in the rental of industrial, office and storage facilities. The facilities are located in a reserve area for power generation.
Manga LNG Oy (5%) was established in 2013. The long-term purpose of the company is to deliver competitive liquefied natural gas to its shareholders. The company began its actual business activities in September 2019.
Turnover, profit and result
The turnover of the EPV Energy Group was EUR 293.4 (343.4) million. The turnover share of the electricity sales was EUR 192.9 (240.8) million and of the remaining operations EUR 100.5 (102.7) million. The decline in turnover is mainly due to the production volume which was lower than the previous year.
The business result of the Group was profitable at EUR 22.8 (25.3) million. The good result is due to the feed-in tariff income from wind power, which has increased because of the low market price for electricity. The net financing costs of the financial year totalled EUR 5.0 (5.2) million. The result for the financial year, as shown in the consolidated financial statements, was EUR 13.0 (15.8) million.
EPV Energy Ltd operates according to the absorption costing principle. Its shareholders pay for the variable costs according to the supplied amounts of energy and for the fixed costs in relation to their holdings, regardless of whether their share of the power asset has been utilised or not. Due to this operational principle, presenting economic indexes is irrelevant for understanding the operations, the financial position or the result.
Financing and investments
The grand total of the Group’s balance increased to EUR 879.6 (836.6) million. Non-current liabilities were EUR 354.4 (299.9) million and current liabilities EUR 108.1 (137.4) million. By the end of the year, the solvency ratio of the Group was 44.6 (45.3) per cent, which means that the target level set by the company was achieved.
The liquidity of the Group was good all year. By the end of the year, there was a total of EUR 78.3 (68.9) million in liquid assets and investments. Unused stand-by credit amounted to more than EUR 80 million by the end of the year.
The net investments of the Group totalled EUR 70.5 (21.3) million. The investments in tangible and intangible assets amounted to EUR 55.7 (41.1) million. Shareholder loan receivables relating to the OL3 project increased by EUR 21.2 (0.0) million. The investments were funded by taking out EUR 53.6 million in long-term loans and through share issues of EUR 9.0 million.
The interest rate risk has been hedged through interest rate swap agreements. Further information on derivatives is available in the notes.
Shareholders, general shareholders’ meeting and board of directors
Shareholders’ interests at the end of 2020 were as follows:
|Alajärven Sähkö Oy
|Imatran Seudun Sähkö Oy
|Kaakon Energia Oy
|KSS Energia Oy
|Lahti Energia Oy
|Lehtimäen Sähkö Oy
|Oulun Energia Oy
|Oy Perhonjoki Ab
|Rauman Energia Oy
|Seinäjoen Energia Oy
|Vaasan Sähkö Oy
|Vantaan Energia Oy
|Vimpelin Voima Oy
|Äänekosken Energia Oy
General Shareholders’ Meetings
The Ordinary General Shareholders’ Meeting of 2020 was assembled on 27 March 2020, and during it, issues belonging to the Ordinary General Meeting were discussed.
In an Extraordinary General Meeting on 26 June 2020, the decision was made to supplement the Board of Directors by a new appointment when Eero Seesvaara retires. Jouni Haikarainen was elected as the new Ordinary Member of the Board in place of Seesvaara.
In an Extraordinary General Meeting on 15 December 2020, the decision was made to sign shareholder loan commitments to TVO and PVO and to arrange shareholder loan commitments with the owners of the company’s A1 and A3 series.
In 2020, the Ordinary Members of the Board elected in the Ordinary General Meeting were Olli Arola, Stefan Damlin, Vesa Hätilä, Miapetra Kumpula-Natri, Jari Lepistö, Anders Renvall, Joakim Strand, Markku Vartia, Juha-Pekka Weckström and Eero Seesvaara until the Extraordinary General Meeting on 25 June, when Jouni Haikarainen was elected as a new Ordinary Member.
The Deputy Members of the Board were Kyösti Jääskeläinen, Ahti Källi, Kari Roos, Jukka Ylitalo and Hans-Alexander Öst.
The Chair of the Board was Miapetra Kumpula-Natri and the Vice Chair was Jouni Haikarainen.
The CEO was Rami Vuola (MSc).
In the General Meeting, the audit firm Ernst & Young Oy was elected Ordinary Auditor for the period until the Ordinary General Shareholders’ Meeting in 2021, with Mikko Rytilahti (CA) and Kristian Berg (CA) as the main responsible Auditors and Anders Svennas (CA) and Marja Huhtala (CA) as Vice Auditors.
The key responsibilities of the personnel include power procurement and distribution, as well as the efficient management of power plant and network operational assets. The objective is to create added value for the company’s shareholders by governing the assets and supervising the operational entities connected to these.
Maintaining the know-how of the EPV Energy Group’s personnel plays a key role in ensuring the profitability of the Group’s business operations and maintaining the continuous development of its operations. In terms of personnel, development measures have been directed at improving employees’ competence and at training supervisors, in addition to which the company has supported its employees in taking care of their health on a self-directed basis. Feedback is regularly collected from employees and utilised in developing the company’s operations and management practices. The company seeks to maintain employees’ mental and physical well-being and thus to promote their ability to perform their tasks at work.
Over the year, the average number of Group employees was 115 (106). At the end of 2020, EPV Energy had 56 (52) employees, EPV Alueverkko 4 (4), Tornion Voima Oy 27 (22) and Seinäjoen Voima Oy 25 (28) employees. At the end of 2020, of the Group’s total personnel, 50 were managerial employees, 30 professional employees and 32 lower-level employees.
2020 was an exceptional year for the personnel. EPV Energy’s Group companies made provisions for potential coronavirus infections, taking various types of action to prevent them. The company created and provided internal instructions at the end of February, which included avoiding travel, working remotely if possible, restricting visitors’ access to workspaces, cutting down events of different types and shifting into an electronic operating environment. Special attention has been paid to the personnel’s ability to cope at work during the pandemic.
Current legal processes
The company is unaware of any current legal processes.
Events following the financial year
Tornion Voima Oy and Outokumpu Stainless Oy have concluded a trade contract on a district cooling plant, two heat recovery steam generators, a district heating battery and sea water pump station. The objects of purchase will become the property of Tornion Voima at the beginning of 2021.
On 28 January 2021, the Finnish Government presented a proposal to Parliament on amendments to the Electricity Market Act (558/2013, not available in English) and the Act on the Supervision of the Electricity and Natural Gas Market (590/2013, not available in English). The aim of the Government proposal is to even out the price increases in electricity supply and to cut network companies’ permitted yield.
The company is unaware of any other significant events following the financial year which it has failed to mention in the annual report or its notes.
EPV’s business activities are exposed to several economic and strategic risks and risks relating to energy policies and regulations. In addition, its activities involve the usual risks of business economics and operations. The most central factor affecting business profitability is the development of the wholesale price of Nordic electricity, which is mainly determined by the price of fuels and CO2 emission allowances, as well as the hydrological situation.
The energy sector is a heavily regulated industry. Changes in regulations and taxation often reflect the prevailing political atmosphere and they can also alter the relative profitability of various production methods. Due to their political nature, these changes are often difficult to anticipate and may consequently increase the risks to individual production methods. EPV maintains a diverse industrial structure. In practice, this means that the energy acquired by the company has been produced using several different methods and that we avoid making the share of an individual production method too large. In addition to this, in order to prepare for potential changes in the operating environment, EPV engages in active strategic work and has a risk management process in place based on the SFS-31000 standard. EPV’s strategy and risk management measures are used to help ensure that the company makes correct and timely investment decisions.
The company is unaware of any other exceptional risks concerning its operations.
Research and development
EPV has continued to invest in research and development in various sections of electricity generation. Some of the most important areas of research are project opportunities relating to renewable energy, specifically electricity generated on an industrial scale through solar power. EPV has also charted the application of battery technologies in the changing Nordic electricity system and the opportunities presented by hydrogen technology for electricity generation.
Near future prospects
The crucial factors influencing the development of electricity prices in the Nordic countries are the balance between demand and supply, the price of fuels and CO2 emission allowances, and the water resource situation. At the beginning of February 2021, the hydrological reserves of the Nordic countries were approximately 6 TWh above the long-term average and 5 TWh below the level for this period in 2020. The market price of emission allowances for 2021 was about EUR 37 per tonne of carbon dioxide. At the same time, the average electricity price on the derivatives market for the rest of 2021 was approximately EUR 32 per megawatt hour and for 2022 approximately EUR 27 per megawatt hour. The regional price in Finland was respectively EUR 44 and 38 per megawatt hour.
The prerequisite for a well-functioning electricity market is the ability to guarantee sufficient electrical power also in abnormal situations. Such abnormal situations include, for example, large breakdowns in production or transmission links, or a longer than normal frost period. It is fairly clear that, over the next few years, it will not be possible to significantly improve the sufficiency of electrical power by constructing new power plants or transmission links. That is why it would also be in Finland’s best interest to have the necessary legislation in place to ensure the sufficiency of adjustable electricity generation in the country.
As we move towards carbon dioxide-neutral production, it becomes more and more evident that it will change the entire energy system and the electricity system in particular. New electricity generation methods will make controlling the entire system more difficult, resulting in a demand for new technological solutions. The electricity market is trying to adapt to the new situation and integrate the new market operators and products into the market, whether they involve electric cars, demand-side management, energy reserves or distributed generation. In light of these developments, it is also plain to see that the legal and fiscal environment of the energy sector in the Nordic countries will change.
The European Green Deal provides an action plan to boost the efficient use of resources by moving to a clean, circular economy and to restore biodiversity and cut pollution. The plan outlines investments needed and financing tools available. It also explains how to ensure a just and inclusive transition. Out of the goals specified in the action plan, the ones that apply to the energy sector in particular include, at least, supporting industry to innovate, decarbonising and ensuring buildings are more energy efficient. The EU will also provide financial support and technical assistance to help those that are most affected by the move towards the green economy. This is called the Just Transition Mechanism. It will help mobilise at least EUR 100 billion over the period from 2021 to 2027 in the most affected regions.
At the end of June, the European Commission published an extensive package of detailed suggestions and recommendations relating to sustainable finance. The publication includes guidance for companies on how to report on the impacts of their business on the climate, as well as specifications for sustainable economic activities, green bonds and comparative indexes that promote climate objectives. Earlier in the spring, the EU issued a regulation on the transparency requirements for financial products. With these and numerous voluntary measures, the European financial sector aims to succeed in a world where taking sustainable development into account is necessarily a part of every company’s operations. The effects of the taxonomy of sustainable finance on the energy sector’s financing of existing or new investments is, as yet, difficult to estimate.
The EU’s long-term budget, coupled with NextGenerationEU, the temporary instrument designed to boost recovery, will be the largest stimulus package ever financed through the EU budget. A total of EUR 1.8 trillion will help rebuild a post-COVID-19 Europe, which will be greener, more digital and more resilient. Based on a conservative estimate, Finland’s share of the stimulus package will be more than EUR 2 billion. The fact that the stimulus package includes objectives relating, for example, to sustainable infrastructure and hydrogen economy will create opportunities for the energy industry to utilise the package in future investments.
The board’s proposition for distribution of profits
The distributable equity of the parent company amounts to EUR 277,516,373.28, of which the profit or loss for the financial year is EUR 213,852.73. The Board of Directors proposes to the General Shareholders’ Meeting that no dividends are to be paid.