From Managing Director
An excellent year 2018: we are moving towards climate neutrality with many solutions
The Helen Group recorded an excellent result in 2018. Successful measures in the electricity wholesale market, where the price level was higher than anticipated, had an impact on the solid performance. We continued a strong period of growth and development at Helen. We succeeded in both sales and the development of our operations. Demand for district heat and district cooling was at a record high level, and the number of Helen’s electricity sales customers reached another all-time high.
Common climate policies at both the international and the national level were agreed at the end of 2018. In Finland, the climate debate has focused around one fossil fuel, coal, more strongly than in other countries. The energy solutions in Helsinki are, understandably, an area of particular interest as it is the capital of Finland. The heat demand in Helsinki is as high as in Tampere, Turku and Espoo put together, and therefore Helen’s choices also have a national significance.
Our objective is climate-neutral production, and we are resolutely moving towards that target. We will phase out the Hanasaari power plant by the end of 2024. Salmisaari will remain an energy production area where coal will be replaced by other solutions.
The pellet-fired heating plant in Salmisaari and the heating and cooling plant operating under the Esplanade were inaugurated in 2018. We also decided to expand our first underground heating and cooling plant operating in Sörnäinen with the commissioning of a new, sixth heat pump in 2021. The construction work of the unique cavern heat storage facility in Mustikkamaa started: the facility will be completed for production use in 2021.
Strengthening energy partnerships
We signed a contract with our long-standing client, the Messukeskus Expo and Convention Centre, on a new solar power plant operating according to Helen’s designated panel concept. Messukeskus is a fantastic example of an extensive energy partnership: in addition to district heat, cooling and electricity, the services offered by Helen to its client are now expanded into solar energy, which will be beneficial to an even larger number of customers through the designated panels available for hire. The solar power plant to be built at Messukeskus this year is already the third power plant in Helsinki with designated panels.
We launched a research and development project on heat demand response with Helsingin kaupungin asunnot Oy. With the service developed by Helen, energy efficiency in blocks of flats can be improved in a cost-effective and easy way.
We were the first company in Finland to offer domestic customers solar panels and electricity accumulators as a bespoke package, which saw successful sales.
Recycling of energy and heat pumps will play an important role in the energy solutions of the future. In 2018, we built a service model for the utilisation of customers’ waste heat in the district heating network, and Helen is now also able to buy sufficiently warm waste heat.
This year, we will continue the development of new products, services and production solutions. We have invested in new kind of expertise in order to respond even better to future challenges.
I wish to extend my warmest thanks especially to our skilful employees for the success of our business operations and excellent financial results. I also want to express my gratitude to our customers and stakeholders for their trust and excellent cooperation. Together we are building a strong foundation for success over the coming years.