Finland was dealing with an unusual problem on Wednesday: clean electricity that was so abundant it sent energy prices into the negative.
While much of Europe was facing an energy crisis, the Nordic country reported that its spot energy prices dropped below zero before noon.
This meant that the average energy price for the day was “slightly” below zero, Jukka Ruusunen, the CEO of Finland’s grid operator, Fingrid, told the Finnish public broadcaster Yle.
In practice, it doesn’t appear any ordinary Finns are being paid to consume electricity. People pay a markup on the electricity, and often pay agreed rates for power instead of the raw market price.
The price drop was driven by an unexpected glut of renewable energy and Finns cutting back on energy use because of the crisis caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
If you had access to almost free electricity what would you do with it? Bitcoin mining and charging your Tesla are the obvious things. But there must be something else. Here are my initial thoughts:
- Electrolysis of water; the O2 and H2 can be used for welding gases, and fuel for everything from heating to rockets.
- Smelting of metal ores.
- Aluminum production.