Kemijoki Oy has started an environmental impact assessment procedure regarding the Ailangantunturi pumped storage power plant project

Kemijoki Oy has started an environmental impact assessment procedure regarding the planned 550-megawatt pumped storage power plant at Ailangantunturi in Kemijärvi and a related power line. Since spring 2023, the company has assessed the possibilities of building pumped storage power plants in Northern Finland and will also continue exploring the potential of building other large-scale pumped storage power plants.

Kuvassa Kemijärven Ailangantunturi
Ailangantunturi in Kemijärvi, Finland

The building structures of the planned pumped storage plant at Ailangantunturi in Kemijärvi will mostly be located underground. When demand for electricity is high, water will be run from the upper storage lake down the power plant’s tunnel and through turbines into the lower storage. When electricity demand is low, the pumped storage plant pumps the water back to the top of the Ailangantunturi fell. The project requires the construction of an upper storage lake of around one square kilometre at Ailangantunturi, from which the water is run down to Lake Kemijärvi.

Transmission of the regulating power produced at the Ailangantunturi pumped storage plant also requires a power line. The plan is to build the transmission line next to the existing Jumisko-Pirttikoski power line all the way to the Fingrid electric station at Pirttikoski, where the power plant can be connected to the existing transmission grid.

The pumped storage power plant will act as energy storage that balances Finland’s power system. The execution of the project will accelerate Finland’s safe energy transition, bring in new industrial investments, stabilise fluctuations in electricity prices and improve price predictability. An investment of around 800 million euros in the Ailangantunturi pumped storage power plant would strengthen the local economy and well-being through income from property taxes, for example.

“The close dialogue we have had with our stakeholders regarding the different options for the project and their effects has progressed to the environmental impacts of the Ailangantunturi pumped storage power plant. The pumped storage plant would affect, among others, the flow rates and landscape at Lake Kemijärvi. Our aim is to carry out an extensive environmental impact assessment, a first of its kind for a pumped storage power plant in Finland,” says Erkki Huttula, Environmental Manager at Kemijoki Oy.

The environmental impact assessment procedure moves forward

The aim of the environmental impact assessment procedure (EIA) is to mitigate or prevent harmful impacts on the environment and improve everyone’s access to information, participation and influencing.

In addition to the statutory environmental impact assessment, Kemijoki Oy will also establish a steering group and monitoring group for the project. This allows us to ensure that our stakeholders are informed of the project and the progress of the environmental impact assessment.

During spring 2024, we will create an environmental impact assessment programme for the Ailangantunturi project, which is a plan outlining how the assessment will be carried out. After the programme has been introduced at a public event, the necessary statements and opinions on the programme have been received, and the EIA procedure’s coordinating authority Lapland’s Centre of Economic Development, Transport and the Environment has issued its statement regarding the programme, we will compose an EIA report. The report compiles information regarding the environmental impacts of the project and its alternatives.

The consultant for the EIA procedure is AFRY. The first environmental impact assessments have already started. We are conducting separate assessments regarding the environmental impacts of the Ailangantunturi pumped storage power plant and power line on surface waters, water management, fish stock and fishing, conservation areas, biodiversity, and recreational use of the area, among others.

The EIA procedure is expected to be completed at the beginning of 2025.

Info box: Ailangantunturi pumped storage project and a power line to Pirttikoski  

  • Capacity: 550 megawatts (MW)
  • Plant type: Pump turbine
  • Number of machinery: 3
  • Head potential: Approx. 200 metres
  • Construction flow: Approx. 300 cubic metres per second
  • Size of the upper storage lake: Approx. one (1) square kilometre
  • Lower storage: Lake Kemijärvi
  • Tunnel length: 4.5 kilometres from upper storage to the lower storage
  • Tunnel diameter: Approx. 9 metres
  • Power line: Can be connected to the electricity transmission network at Pirttikoski

More information:

Erkki Huttula
Environmental Manager
Kemijoki Oy
Phone 020 703 4431

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