April 2024 saw a notable increase in electricity consumption in Finland, driven by colder-than-average temperatures and a rise in household usage. Despite this surge, the average electricity price actually dropped compared to March, aided by robust wind and hydro power production.

Electricity consumption in April 2024 rose by 5% compared to the same month in 2023.

While industrial consumption dropped by 13.5% due to strikes and operational shutdowns, household and other sectors saw a significant increase of 19.5%. The unusually cold weather played a significant role, with April temperatures in Helsinki and Jyväskylä being two and one-and-a-half degrees Celsius colder, respectively, than the previous year.

The average price of electricity in April was 4.89 cents per kilowatt-hour, a decrease from March’s 5.89 cents, and significantly lower than April 2023’s 6.06 cents. This drop in price encouraged the use of electric boilers for heating, which was in high demand due to the cold weather, particularly in the latter half of the month.

Nuclear power production took a hit due to the annual maintenance at the Olkiluoto plant, reducing its contribution to 29% of the electricity mix, down from 45% in April 2023. Despite this reduction, the shortfall did not lead to a spike in electricity prices thanks to increased production from wind and hydro power sources.

Wind power production saw a substantial boost, increasing by 56% compared to April 2023, thanks to favorable wind conditions and expanded capacity. Wind energy accounted for 22% of the total electricity production. Hydro power also played a crucial role, with production rising by 19% from the previous year, contributing to 20% of the total electricity output.

"Spring floods in Ostrobothnia, caused by melting snow and heavy rains, significantly boosted hydro power production," said Marja Rankila, a hydro power expert from Energy Industry Finland.

Electricity imports also played a significant role in meeting the increased demand, with imports constituting 11.5% of the total consumption in April 2024, up from less than 1% in April 2023. Most of this electricity was imported from Sweden, providing essential flexibility and stability to the market.

On the other hand, combined heat and power (CHP) production saw a marked decline, despite the cold weather increasing heating demand. CHP contributed 14% to the electricity mix, down by 24% compared to the previous year.

"CHP’s role has been declining over the years, and this trend has accelerated," noted Jukka Leskelä, CEO of Energy Industry Finland. "This shift is part of a broader transition towards electrifying heating in urban district heating networks and moving electricity production to distant wind and solar farms. This rapid transformation presents significant investment challenges for grid companies, which must adapt to the changing demands swiftly."

Despite the decline, urban CHP plants remain crucial for ensuring the reliability and flexibility of the electricity supply.

Overall, the combination of increased household consumption, expanded renewable energy production, and strategic imports has allowed Finland to manage a cold April effectively without significant hikes in electricity prices.