18 Oct 2018
EUR 35 million
Financial institutions and SMEs
|Date of loan:||13 Nov 2015|
|Customer:||Pohjois-Karjalan Sähkö Oy|
|Amount in EUR:||EUR 29 million|
|NACE sector / loan type:||Electricity, gas, steam and hot water supply|
|Business area:||Energy and environment|
The loan has been provided for replacing 1,150 kilometres of overhead electric power cables with underground cables in eastern Finland.
Pohjois-Karjalan Sähkö aims to replace 400 kilometres of medium-voltage and 750 kilometres of low-voltage overhead lines with underground cables, and to transfer 240 kilometres of medium-voltage overhead lines alongside roads. The importance of the project became evident after storms caused considerable damage to overhead lines in the winter of 2011/2012.
In addition, the company will refurbish three power stations and approximately 1,000 old, pole-mounted transformers. These will either be replaced with pad-mounted transformers or equipped with oil spill protection.
The 2015–2017 investment programme will upgrade one of the largest distribution networks in Finland. The main benefit is improved security of supply to the company’s customers, of which the largest are heavy industry and municipalities that require constant, reliable electricity distribution.
Other benefits include savings from lower maintenance costs as well as event-related repair costs due to damage from severe weather. The compensation the company has to pay to its customers from this kind of network damage is also expected to decrease.
The Finnish energy company Pohjois-Karjalan Sähkö Oy is primarily owned by the municipalities around the City of Joensuu in eastern Finland. The company operates in electricity generation, trading and distribution, as well as grid construction and maintenance. It was founded in 1945 and employs about 300 people.
The company operates the fifth-largest distribution network in Finland in terms of geographical coverage. In 2013, the company was among the ten largest distribution companies in Finland in terms of both distribution volumes and customer base.
Compared to its peers, however, a considerably lower proportion of the company’s network cabling is underground. This partly explains why weather-related damage to the network causes more downtime to the company’s customers than to those of other large networks in Finland.
Since the majority of the project involves underground cabling and other measures to mitigate network damage, the project will reduce the operational costs of the company and the cost of compensating customers for network outages.
The main wider benefit from the project is therefore improved security of supply to the company’s customers.
The negative environmental impacts of the project are assessed to be minor and local.
The installation of cables across lakes and rivers is assessed to have minor impact on water quality. The main environmental benefits comprise the reduced visual impact of the grid due to cabling, the reduced risk of oil spills due to replacement of old transformers in groundwater areas, and a marginal reduction to power losses in the grid.
Replacing overhead power lines with underground cables is expected to have only minor negative impacts on the environment.