Blog / 14.3.2024

Jarmo Hagström witnessed the energy transition in Hanasaari

A significant era came to an end as the Hanasaari power plant that served the residents of Helsinki for nearly 50 years was decommissioned in April 2023. The decommissioning of Hanasaari ended a significant era also in the life of the power plant manager Jarmo Hagström.

Jarmo Hagström has worked almost his entire career in Hanasaari. In the last few years, he worked as a power plant manager responsible for the day-to-day operation of the power plant. Originally, Jarmo came to Hanasaari through the Helsinki University of Technology’s traineeship.

“Even though Hanasaari was an old power plant, it was a very interesting place to work. We renewed turbines and flue gas cleaning processes, we researched and developed. You were not tied to your position and I have advanced in my career one step at a time,” Hagström says.

The Hanasaari power plant produced heat and electricity for Helsinki residents in an effective and reliable manner. Its main fuel was coal, which was brought to the plant on ships via the port. After the turn of the millennium, the reduction of CO2 emissions and the replacement of fossil fuels became an even hotter topic in societal debate.

“Coal seemed blacker and blacker. We started experimenting with wood pellets in order to reduce the use of coal. At that time, pellets were a new thing in Finland and attracted a lot of interest.”

As an energy company, Helen began to prepare for the green transition. At the Hanasaari power plant, the personnel knew to expect the decommissioning decision, but for long-time Hanasaari employees, it was still a sad moment.

“We had a strong Hanasaari spirit. We thought of Hanasaari as our own power plant, which we wanted to take care of and operate optimally. This team spirit was reflected in everything we did and certainly in the results, too,” Hagström notes.

The power plant was decommissioned on 1 April 2023. The decommissioning had a concrete impact on Helen’s emissions: our CO2 emissions decreased by more than 38% compared to the previous year.

We have set a target of making our energy production carbon neutral by 2030. A significant number of homes in Helsinki are already heated by the Vuosaari bioenergy heating plant, whose main fuel is wood chips obtained as a by-product of forestry. In heat production, we are also increasingly concentrating on utilising different waste and environmental heat with heat pumps. We produce clean electricity with hydropower, wind power and solar power, in which we have been investing heavily in recent years.