A new record in the demand for district heat, 2,650 MW, was broken in Helsinki on 7 January 2016 as a result of a lengthy cold spell. The previous record from a few years ago was surpassed by a good 50 megawatts (MW). The sub-zero temperatures continuing for several days contributed to the unprecedented demand.
The test runs of the Hanasaari pellet system were completed and the equipment was taken into continuous use in winter 2016. Some of the coal used as fuel at the power plant was replaced with pellets. Hanasaari is prepared for mixed combustion of pellets with a 5–7 per cent proportion. Pellets were also burned mixed with coal at the Salmisaari power plant.
Finland’s largest solar power plant was inaugurated in April in the Kivikko district of Helsinki. Almost 3,000 solar panels generate electricity on the roof of the ski hall. The annual production of the power plant corresponds to the annual consumption of about 350 one-bedroom apartments. The total output of Helen’s solar power plants – Kivikko and Suvilahti – exceeds one megawatt. This is about 13% of the solar power production connected to the national grid.
Helen is making a significant investment in district cooling energy by building a second large industrial-scale heating and cooling plant in Helsinki. This investment will reduce Helen’s carbon dioxide emissions because fossil fuels can be replaced by heat pumps. The plant is being built in a cooling centre located under the Esplanade Park.
Helen spent a total of EUR 30,000 to support events that generated positive energy. The ‘World’s best city energy’ grants emphasised the values, diversity and responsibility of urban culture and the popularity of the applications.
Helen started producing district heat with biogas produced from domestic waste. Helen and Gasum signed a biogas partnership contract in June. Helen launched a renewable district heat product aimed at business customers, with production based on biogas in the initial stage.
In the summer, Helen inaugurated the largest electricity storage facility in the Nordic countries. Located in Suvilahti, the output of the electricity storage facility is 1.2 megawatts and its capacity is 600 kilowatt-hours. In a research project in partnership with Fingrid and Helen Electricity Network Ltd, Helen is testing the limits of the electricity storage facility to establish lucrative, market-based operations.
Helen was seeking new partners for local production projects in renewable energy. The project partners were promised a total of EUR 50,000 in financial aid. Helen’s renewable energy support campaign was aimed at the public sector, associations and communities, and at businesses operating in the utilities sector.
In October, Helen launched a nationwide Heat Pledge campaign to reduce emissions in connection with consumption peaks in the winter. For Helen, the Heat Pledge and the new Enne service are a step towards a smart energy society of the future where customers are engaged as active participants in various energy production solutions.
Helen's new concept brought private charging points into the public charging network. In the Pitäjänmäki fast-charge station, you can charge a car in 5–15 minutes. The new station is the 41st charging point in Helen’s network of charging stations. Helen’s public charging stations form the largest urban network in Finland.
The foundation work of the pellet-fired heating plant in Salmisaari started in December. Finland’s largest pellet-fired boiler will be built in the plant. This is a significant project to increase renewable energy. The heat input of the new pellet-fired heating plant is just under 100 MW, and it will be connected to the pellet reception and storage system already built in the Salmisaari power plant area.
Helen is involving its customers in the energy system through demand response. Demand response is implemented with private customers, and the first contracts on the demand response service were also concluded with a few business customers.
Helen’s marketing received several different awards during the year. For example, Helen won the online series in the Voitto TV commercial competition with its Yrjö Uusivirta video series, and the Yrjö Show episode ‘Get-Together Party’ was Finland’s most popular commercial on YouTube.