UPM To Improve Electricity Distribution Reliability In Collaboration With Fortum
During the coming autumn and winter, forestry service provider UPM Silvesta will collaborate with Fortum and clear approximately 100 kilometres of electric power lines in Vihti, Finland. Trees will be felled approximately 10 metres either side of the power lines in order to secure the reliable distribution of electricity even in harsh weather conditions.
New Electricity Market Act brings new challenges to electricity distribution network companies
A new Electricity Market Act entered into force in Finland on 1 September 2013. The act requires electricity distribution network companies to plan, construct and maintain the distribution network so that it functions as reliably as possible. In practice, this means that distribution network companies may, for instance, fell and remove trees near the distribution network without permission from the landowner if this is necessary to prevent interruptions to the distribution of electricity. The objective of the new act is to improve the reliability of electricity distribution and minimise the inconvenience to customers caused by power outages.
Fortum and UPM Silvesta to test new operating models for maintenance of overhead power lines
The length of Fortum's electricity network in Finland is approximately 77,000 kilometres. Approximately 25,000 kilometres of this network consist of medium-voltage power transmission lines, which are very prone to snow-induced problems. About half of these medium-voltage lines are situated in forests so the new act is of great significance to the company.
UPM Silvesta, on the other hand, provides electricity companies with a comprehensive power-line-clearing package that includes researching who owns the land, making forest markings, contacting customers, organising timber transactions and performing harvesting and clearing work.
During the coming autumn and winter, UPM and Fortum will test a collaboration model where felling will be performed in forests in the immediate vicinity of electric power lines as Fortum performs its regular maintenance clearing work. Trees threatening to endanger electricity distribution will be felled in a 10-metre-wide area on both sides of the power-line corridor. UPM Silvesta will be responsible for the felling, short-distance haul and joint sale of the timber.
Both companies interested in wood
"In this pilot project, we are particularly interested in the amounts and types of wood available, or in how much removable wood there is and how it can be used. We are also seeking a collaboration model that would satisfy all parties: the electricity company, the landowner and the contractor," explains Sauli Antila, Head of Network Development at Fortum Distribution.
"We have successfully cleared power lines in collaboration with Fortum in several locations. We fell trees from beneath overhead electric lines, remove branches and trees from the sides of power line corridors, manage forests in the immediate vicinity of power lines and clear new corridors for power lines. We also safely harvest trees that fall on power lines during storms. As a national operator, we can offer a comprehensive service for the management of the distribution network," says Jukka Koivumäki, Managing Director of UPM Silvesta.
"When a forest in the immediate vicinity of an electric power line is well managed, it provides its owner with both financial and scenic benefit," Koivumäki says.