Climate-neutral energy

Our long-term target is to produce energy in a climate-neutral way.

Climate neutral energy

Climate-neutral energy production means production that does not increase carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere and therefore does not add to global warming. Our target by 2025 is to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 40 per cent compared to the 1990 levels, to increase the share of renewable energy to 25 per cent, and to halve the amount of coal we use. We will phase out coal use in 2029.

Energy production in 2018

In 2018, the share of renewable energy in our energy mix was 12 per cent, which was at the same level as in the previous year. Carbon-free production accounted for 22 per cent. We generate carbon-free energy from nuclear power and renewable energy: hydropower, wood pellets, wind power, biogas and solar energy, as well as from various waste energy flows with heat pumps.

Share of renewable energy

2015 9
2016 10
2017 12
2018 12
Target 2025 25

We produce energy mainly in our power plants and heating plants in different parts of Helsinki. We also supplement our production from outside Helsinki through our associated companies and purchases.

Our production volumes increased in 2018: we produced 6,700 gigawatt-hours of electricity, 7,200 gigawatt-hours of heat and 190 gigawatt-hours of cooling (140 gigawatt-hours in 2017).

Origin of district heat, GWh

  Natural gas Coal Heatl pump Bio Oil
2014 3290 3080 380 0 140
2015 3380 2550 420 20 50
2016 2190 4150 490 100 170
2017 1980 4320 570 150 70
2018 2510 3850 570 190 80

Origin of electricity, GWh

  Natural gas Coal Nuclear power Renewables
2014 3240 1530 1470 780
2015 3460 1240 1390 890
2016 1950 2090 1460 960
2017 1790 2140 1370 990
2018 2290 2100 1460 880

See the specific emissions and origin of the electricity, heat and cooling sold by us.

In 2018, the share of energy we produced with coal decreased by 8 per cent to 6,000 gigawatt-hours and, correspondingly, the share of natural gas production increased by 27 per cent to 4,800 gigawatt-hours. This trend arises from changes in the energy market: the dry hydrological year and increased consumption due to economic growth pushed up the electricity and emission allowance prices, and subsequently the focus of production moved from coal to natural gas. The share of coal will fall significantly in the future when the Hanasaari power plant will be decommissioned by the end of 2024 and we will phase out coal in 2029.

We produced 1,500 gigawatt-hours of nuclear power through Teollisuuden Voima Oy and purchases. Nuclear power production grew by 6 per cent. Hydropower production decreased by 8 per cent due to the dry hydrological year.

The amount of energy we produced from various types of excess heat, such as heat from purified waste water and excess heat of properties using heat pumps, was at the previous level, 570 gigawatt-hours. The high price of electricity reduced the use of heat pumps towards the end of the year.

The amount of energy we produced from wood pellets and biogas fell slightly. Due to operational problems at the Salmisaari pellet-fired heating plant, which was inaugurated in 2018, we were unable to operate the plant according to plan. Remedial changes have been made in the pellet-fired heating plant, and therefore we will be increasing the use of pellets during 2019. We continued co-combustion of wood pellets also in the Hanasaari and Salmisaari power plants.

Energy produced from wood pellets and biogas

2016 180
2017 230
2018 220

We produced more energy from wind power than before, a total of 63 gigawatt-hours (39 gigawatt-hours in 2017). We procured wind power through our associated company Hyötytuuli Oy. The production volume increased as the first offshore wind farm of Hyötytuuli Oy in Tahkoluoto and the Annankangas onshore wind farm were completed in autumn 2017, and year 2018 was their first full year in operation. Furthermore, Hyötytuuli acquired the Jokela wind farm in autumn 2018, and therefore wind power production is expected to rise also in 2019.

We also increased solar energy production. Our photovoltaic power plants in Kivikko and Suvilahti produced a total of 1.0 gigawatt-hours of electricity in 2018 (0.96 gigawatt-hours in 2017). We expanded the Suvilahti solar power plant with a photovoltaic panel wall. We also built PV plants at our customers’ properties and continued solar heat recovery from properties with the aid of district cooling.

Investment in low-carbon energy production

The target of climate-neutral energy system directs the development of our future energy system. We aim to make progressive investments in reducing emissions and increasing renewable energy, and we utilise all the opportunities offered by new technologies. We also develop new energy production solutions together with our customers.

During 2018, we invested EUR 14 million in the reduction of emissions and the increase of low-carbon energy production. We completed two new energy production plants and took investment decisions on new projects.

The Salmisaari pellet-fired heating plant was completed. The plant’s rated thermal input is 100 megawatts and it generates renewable district heat for the needs of about 25,000 one-bedroom flats. The pellet-fired heating plant reduces carbon dioxide emissions by about 58,000 tonnes a year.

The construction work of the Esplanade heating and cooling plant was completed: the plant produces district heat and district cooling from the excess heat of properties and data centres. The thermal output of the plant is 22 megawatts and its cooling output is 15 megawatts, and it reduces our carbon dioxide emissions by more than 20,000 tonnes per year.

Our nuclear power assets will increase when continuous use of the Olkiluoto 3 nuclear power plant will start at the beginning of 2020.

We are building a new heat pump to add to the Katri Vala heating and cooling plant. The district heat output of the new heat pump is 18 megawatts and its cooling output is 12 megawatts. As a result, the thermal output of the Katri Vala heating and cooling plant will rise to 123 megawatts and its cooling output to 82 megawatts. The production volume of the plant will grow by up to 30 per cent. The value of the investment is about EUR 20 million and, as a result, our carbon dioxide emissions will fall by 65,000 tonnes per year. The heat pump will be completed in 2021.

We are also building a large heat storage facility in the disused oil caverns in Mustikkamaa, deep in the Helsinki bedrock. The volume of the facility is 260,000 cubic metres and it can store 12 gigawatt-hours of heat. The charging and discharging capacity of the heat storage facility is 120 megawatts, i.e. discharging and charging with full capacity takes four days. The storage facility increases flexibility of our energy system and reduces the use of fossil fuels. The value of the investment is about EUR 15 million. The construction work on the heat storage facility will start in 2019 and completion is due in 2021.

We are increasing hydropower production by carrying out a modernisation project on the Klåsarö hydropower plant located on the River Kymijoki. The plant’s output is 4.6 megawatts and annual production about 32 gigawatt-hours. As a result of the upgrade of the power plant’s turbines, the production volume of the plant will rise by about 18 per cent. The upgrade will be carried out during 2019–2020.

We are building a photovoltaic plant on the roof of the Messukeskus Expo and Convention Centre in summer 2019. The plant will consist of 2,300 photovoltaic panels and its output is 695 kilowatts.

Construction of bioenergy heating plant is explored

We are exploring various options of building new bioenergy heating plants in Helsinki. The bioenergy heating plants would be built in stages, and the first plant would be commissioned by 2024. The planned sites are in Patola, Tattarisuo and Vuosaari. The bioenergy heating plants will replace coal use and ensure sufficient district heat supplies.

During 2018, we continued the planning of bioenergy heating plants: we specified the plans and made progress in the permit process of the plants. An environmental permit was granted for the Patola pellet-fired heating plant and the revision of the town plan was launched. We launched the environmental impact assessment of the Tattarisuo heating plant, on which the Uusimaa Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment will deliver its opinion in early 2019. The environmental permit process for the Vuosaari heating plant was also started in 2018.

We are preparing to make decisions on the next stage of the implementation of bioenergy heating plants in 2019.

Promoting solutions for the future

The energy system in Helsinki is flexible and highly suitable for enabling various renewable and low-carbon energy solutions.

The heating and cooling networks are independent of fuels or production methods. In addition to increased use of biomass, we are investigating, for example, the utilisation of various kinds of heat pumps, solar heat, geothermal heat as well as small and modular nuclear reactors. We are also evaluating the possibilities offered by demand response, distributed generation, storage, and energy saving, as well as production and energy efficiency solutions implemented together with our customers.

We are investigating the possibilities of heat recovery at the Kilpilahti refineries in cooperation with Neste, Borealis Polymers, Porvoon Energia, Keravan Energia and energy companies in the Helsinki region. Kilpilahti produces a substantial amount of low-temperature excess heat, the utilisation of which has not been possible so far. The preliminary study will be completed in 2019.

We are planning to build a seasonal heat storage in the disused oil caverns in Kruunuvuorenranta. In the solution, the large caverns of the seasonal storage of Kruunuvuorenranta will be filled with sea water heated by the sun in the summer. The water will then be utilised in the winter as an energy source for heat pumps. The total volume of the caverns is about 300,000 cubic metres. We will go ahead with the project if its technical and financial preconditions are met.

Construction of wind power in Helsinki is also an option. If suitable sites are found and the investments prove to be worthwhile, we will be interested in building wind power in the sea area outside Helsinki.

Energy efficiency is the backbone of our operations

Combined heat and power generation together with district heat and the rapidly increasing district cooling form the basis for an energy-efficient energy system in Helsinki.

We aim to improve energy efficiency by 5.4 per cent from the 2015 level by 2025. We strive to further increase the efficiency of utilising excess heat and recycled heat, to optimise production and to enhance the use of energy for internal consumption at substations.

In 2018, we launched an energy audit on Vuosaari B power plant, where all potential areas to improve the efficiency of energy use are investigated and an action plan to implement the improvement measures is drawn up. We also improved the efficiency of production and distribution with changes in the operating methods of power plants, equipment replacements and refurbishment of the district heating network.

In 2019, we will carry out an energy audit for enterprises in accordance with the Energy Efficiency Act.

In 2018, the efficiency of energy production at the Helen Group was 94.4 per cent (91.1 per cent in 2017).