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Alpiq – A look back at one year in the Nordics

One year ago, Alpiq increased its footprint and activities across the Nordics, with a new Nordic head office opening in Helsinki and a new team joining the existing Alpiq office in Oslo. Matti Ahtosalo, head of Alpiq in the Nordics, brought in an extensive background in the energy sector and the Nordic markets. He provides some insights into his first year.

Matti Ahtosalo

Head Origination Nordics

“Successful business development is about building relationships.”

Matti, you are building a new team in the Nordics. What have the key factors in building the team been, what skills have you focused on?

Our team consists of seven members spread throughout the Nordic countries (Finland, Sweden and Norway). All the employees of Alpiq in the Nordics need a holistic understanding of power markets as such. We need to cover the market from short-term physical trading to long-term financial trading and everything in between. Together, we work as a team, supporting each other and drawing on Alpiq’s expertise in Switzerland.

With a pandemic that is impacting everyone, especially as regards working at home, how are you motivating your team during these challenging times? And how do you exchange information with them?

Whether you’re working in the office or at home, the biggest motivator is the ability to make things happen. We have been successful in ramping up the business, and that will be our greatest motivator as we push forward. We talk frequently via Teams – with the camera on – and we have been trying to meet outside the office once a month with a good amount of face-to-face time, always following the COVID guidelines of course.

The Nordic market is relatively large and highly competitive. Customers can choose from among many energy companies. What do you think Alpiq brings to this market to serve Nordic customers?

We have a thorough understanding of customers’ needs and work with them as true partners. That makes us competitive. We deploy the best ideas and highest-performing tools from the Alpiq Group to provide the highest level of service to our customers.

Looking back, what would you say have been the biggest challenges so far?

Implementing changes and developing new business in the energy sector takes some time even when you’re moving fast. Because successful business development is about building relationships. And building a relationship takes time.

What was your standout achievement within the last 12 months?

We got ready for physical trading in the Nordic and Baltic countries and have concluded several transactions with various producers and consumers.

What effects has the COVID-19 pandemic had on you and the Alpiq Nordic team?

Our journey with Alpiq started during the pandemic, so we don’t know what the business would have looked like in a COVID-free environment. So COVID has always been part of our daily routine. With all the meetings now happening online rather than in the same physical space, it makes no difference whether you are located in the Nordics or in Switzerland. Even in these circumstances, we have developed a strong team spirit.

What would you say is the main difference in the Nordic energy market compared to the rest of Europe?

The Nordic market has been liberalised for quite some time and customers also understand the underlying market.

What forecasts would you venture to make regarding the effect of the coronavirus pandemic on achieving the European climate targets and, in particular, Sweden’s aim to become one of the first fossil-free countries in the world?

We have been pursuing various renewable projects in Nordic area and they have been proceeding as expected even during the pandemic. I don’t believe that COVID will affect the big picture in terms of growing RES production, the electrification of the automotive industry or the development of a smarter energy ecosystem.

What changes do you see down the road for the renewable energy market in the north?

The future of renewable energy in northern Europe looks bright, but it also holds some challenges. Growth in RES production depends largely on transmission systems. The Nordic countries still need a solution for moving electricity from the points where it is produced to the areas where it is consumed. Risk management in RES projects is getting far more attention since simple solutions are already in use and the projects are far larger than they were five years ago.


Matti Ahtosalo has been a member of the Alpiq Management Team since 2020 and heads Alpiq’s Origination business in the Nordics. He holds a degree in electrical engineering, and he is a certified European of Financial Analyst Association (EFFAS) financial analyst. Matti Ahtosalo has worked in the energy industry for over 20 years.