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“When it gets cloudy and the wind stops blowing, we will need to get energy from somewhere, and that is when we will start up the condensing power plant or another conventional unit. As the proportion of variable energy production increases, the utilisation rate of conventional energy production units decreases, meaning that its relative operating costs will increase. These long-term integration costs resulting from the production profile have not been researched much, either economically or technically,” Kopsakangas-Savolainen says. An additional challenge in electricity production is the fact that electricity demand and supply has to be balanced second by second. Electricity itself cannot be stored to any significant extent using the current technologies (at least on decent costs). According to Kopsakangas-Savolainen, one means of “storing” energy in addition to the development of storage technology is to use consumer’s demand behaviour as an active means of management. “One of our research topics is highlighting the position of the consumer as a possible contributor to the future energy market as an active small producer and dynamic consumer of energy. This requires a smart electricity network, a reasonable ICT system and intelligent control, which enables the consumer/producer to manage his/her own consumption and supply of electricity.” Kopsakangas-Savolainen points out that while there have already been regional pilot projects for bidirectional communication, technical and legislative restrictions still exist – restrictions relating to incentives in particular. For example, the current compensation for solar energy produced to the grid is based on flat-rate and does not follow the dynamic market mechanisms of supply and demand. Current business model does not give the consumer a sufficient incentive to invest in the necessary equipment. When asked about Finland’s role in the development of the future energy economy, Kopsakangas-Savolainen responds encouragingly and challengingly: “Finland is one of the few places in the world where practically all households are equipped with real-time electricity meters. This existing infrastructure should now be utilised in the development of new products. Finland has a great opportunity to develop new applications and technologies for variable and distributed energy production as export products, since these solutions are sorely needed – and fast.”

M A RT T I A H T I S A A R I I N T E R N AT I O N A L DOCTORAL SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAMME Martti Ahtisaari International Doctoral Scholarship Programme enhances high-quality research and education in challenges of sustainable and responsible business, as well as functioning of the global markets and economy as a whole. The programme supports the internationalization of the University of Oulu. Nine students were accepted into the programme in 2014: Anna Elsilä Eija-Liisa Heikka Jan Hermes Anne Keränen Irene Lehto Minna Mäläskä Waqar Nadeem Riikka Nuutilainen Michael Oduor

Annual Report 2014  
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