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 main focus of the EPV Energy Management business area in 2019 was the development of the Operations Centre’s activities: optimisation analytics were developed to meet the needs of energy generation in Seinäjoki and Vaasa and a real-time robot for electricity trading was adopted in the power exchange. In addition, EPV’s cyber security was further strengthened.

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. The amenities directed at EPV 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.

Optimisation analytics were developed for energy generation in Vaasa and Seinäjoki

In 2019, the EPV Operations Centre adopted and developed optimisation analytics for electricity and heat production in Seinäjoki and Vaasa. The analytics were first launched in Seinäjoki in collaboration with Seinäjoen Voima and Seinäjoen Energia. Vaasa will follow, adopting the analytics in connection with the commissioning of the future heat storage facility in collaboration with Vaskiluodon Voima and Vaasan Sähkö. The latest analytics software will allow EPV to predict customers’ energy consumption more accurately and closer to real time than ever. If needed, the analytics can incorporate the possibility of customers being flexible in their electricity and heat consumption. The purpose of optimising the system is to produce electricity and heat for customers as inexpensively as possible.

“The analytics optimises the quantity of electricity and heat for consumption at any one moment and does it automatically, without interruption and around the clock. When electricity prices are up, we can utilise the heat in storage,” explains Director of the EPV Energy Management business area, Reima Neva.

The electricity trading robot picks the best purchase and sales offers

The increase in the electric power system of renewable energy generation whose quantity is difficult to predict, such as wind power, increases the demand for round-the-clock services relating to the monitoring, prediction and trade of energy. This was one important factor behind the founding of the Operations Centre. In the Operations Centre, the management of the energy balance is intensely focused on the planning of production for the next few hours and days and is implemented round-the-clock, every day of the year. Various uncertainty factors in forecasting usually get smaller the closer the time of delivery gets. The advantage of analytics based on extensive source data is the fact that they allow us to find various interdependencies resulting from the combined effect of several factors, and these interdependencies help us to reduce any uncertainty factors further into the future than before.

In 2019, EPV adopted an electricity trading robot to use in the power exchange. The robot maintains purchase and sales offers in intraday transactions in real time according to the given parameters, i.e. “authorisation”. The analytics produce and maintain real-time prognosis for the robot about the surpluses and deficits between electricity purchases and supply in the system managed by EPV for the nearest coming hours. The robot trades in these surpluses and deficits, not in the deviations. The robot is a quick and tireless realiser of a predetermined trading strategy. Speed is of the essence, particularly when something surprising occurs in the market, because then, in the best case scenario, it only takes a few seconds for the robot to move from learning about the situation to closing a deal. The personnel of the Operations Centre perform ex-post analysis of the results and consider the need to update the parameters based on the analysis. This is how many other operators in the market act too, which keeps the situation in constant flux.

“When the prediction shows that our customers may have purchased more electricity than they need, the electricity is sold on the electricity market at the best possible price. When it is predicted that there will not be enough electricity, electricity is bought at the lowest price possible,” Neva explains.

Quarter-hour trades in the electricity market require automation

The electricity trading robot is needed, because the world is moving more and more towards real-time trading. When trading becomes faster, it is no longer done manually.

“Electricity trading currently takes place at lead times of one hour, but in just three years’ time we may have to make deals in quarter-hour windows,” says Neva.

This quarter-hour lead time relates to the European regulation of electricity market integration. The shorter market period is hoped to improve the quality of load frequency in the synchronous area when the parties involved are encouraged to react to their imbalances within a more precise lead time. According to information available at the present, the transfer to quarter-hour imbalance settlements will take place in the spring of 2023.

“When moving from hourly to quarter-hour lead times, transmission system operators will also have to automate many of their processes more than they already have,” Neva states.

The implementation of quarter-hour lead times has been widely and actively discussed in Finland within the sector and with Fingrid. Fingrid is working with other Nordic transmission system operators to develop operations models for the Nordic electricity market in the direction signposted by EU legislation. EPV Energy participates in this development work via the Finnish Energy Sector’s Electricity Market Committee, of which Reima Neva is a member and the current chairman. EPV’s Chief of Energy Performance Jarmo Lapakko, on the other hand, is a member of Fingrid Oyj’s quarter-hour lead time reference group and the Finnish representative in the Customer Committee of the Nordic imbalance settlement company eSett.

Collecting data at the solar monitoring station

EPV has its own monitoring station for solar power research in Vuorenneva, Alavus. The pilot plant collects data and experience about the way solar panels behave and the quantity of electricity production during variable solar radiation. From the pilot plant, various measurement data is collected into the energy management system for further analysis. The data is utilised in charting the energy management needs of a potential industrial-scale solar power plant.

EPV prepared for control of Olkiluoto 3

EPV made preparations for the control of the Olkiluoto 3 (OL 3) nuclear power plant’s electricity share in the power balance.

“We developed operating models that allow us to apply EPV’s control capability over its own production to the needs occurring during the test run of OL 3,” Neva says.

Data security and data protection is being continuously strengthened

EPV Energy Management’s key work, as regards data security and data protection, are technical audits that have been performed at power stations, as well as in the Group’s data network. The purpose of the audits is to ensure that EPV’s protection mechanisms are up-to-date and to keep track of the nature of cyber threats, while engaging in continuous improvement and adopting new protection methods.

Based on the recommendations of the 2019 audits, EPV further expanded its technical monitoring of matters relating to data security. The purpose of this monitoring is to observe, prevent and limit potential data breaches.

“We also organised cyber security training for our entire personnel. The training utilised simulations of various situations that are known to be targets of data security attacks against the company’s employees. We will continue to offer similar training in the future,” Neva says.