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Blog | 10/10/2022 08:27:31 | 10 min Read time

UPM example shows how industry can be flexible in the electricity market

Stefan Sundman

Vice President, Public Affairs

We are living in the middle of an energy crisis in Europe, where the worst of it, winter, is yet to come. Russia is tightening its grip on the gas pipelines, and Central Europe is considering how to replace gas as an energy source. Finland is considering how to cope with electricity consumption peaks during winter frosts. Can you still heat your electric sauna in freezing temperatures? But the question is about a much more diverse palette.

Electricity is a commodity that is difficult to store. Renewable wind power is only available when it is windy and solar power when it is sunny. But electricity is needed at all times.

UPM has a unique dual role in the electricity market: we consume plenty of electricity, but we also produce it. Over the decades, we have learned to save, to anticipate consumption and price spikes and to adjust our consumption accordingly. Anything that can be done at night, will be done at night as demand and prices for electricity are lower at that time.

UPM is the second largest electricity producer in Finland and also offers flexibility in electricity consumption. Hydropower provides the balancing power needed as renewables become more widespread, for example, when there is no wind or sunshine. Some of our factories in Finland also produce energy for district heating networks. We contribute to the maintenance of the electricity system, for example, we help when there is a risk of electricity shortages: either by reducing consumption or by increasing production through hydropower plants.

We are a major player in the Nordic electricity market, producing competitive, carbon dioxide-free energy. We have leveraged our decades of experience into Beyond Spot, a service for businesses. The service will also enable other industrial operators not only to reduce their electricity bills, but also to participate, through optimisation, in the consumption flexibility of the electricity market, to the benefit of all.

The example of UPM shows that industry can participate in energy initiatives. It is not just about saving electricity, it is about when and how you use it. It is about innovations that help optimise electricity production and consumption. It is a question of attitude: change towards a future beyond fossils is possible. We at UPM have plenty of examples of this.

 
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