News / 2.12.2015

Helen invests in renewable energy and distributed energy production

Helsinki City Council decided today that Helen’s development programme is to be implemented with a model that will gradually increase the use of biofuels in heat production. The possibilities of new technologies and any changes in the customers’ energy use are also taken into account. For example, extensive utilisation of solar heat, geothermal heat and heat pumps will be investigated.

Helen aims to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 20 per cent on the 1990 level and to increase the share of renewable energy to 20 per cent. The first significant investment project will be a pellet-fired heating plant in the Salmisaari power plant area, replacing the oil-fired heating plant. The planning of the new heating plant will be launched immediately and the plant will be commissioned in 2017. The amount of energy produced by the plant will meet the heating need of 25,000 one-bedroom apartments.

The next step will be to build a large bio-heating plant in the Vuosaari power plant area and possibly also at another construction site. According to the City Council’s decision, the Hanasaari combined heat and power (CHP) plant can be decommissioned by 31 December 2024 at the latest, as soon as sufficient heat production capacity has been ensured.

Helen’s current city energy concept is based on the internationally awarded, energy-efficient cogeneration of electricity, district heat and district cooling and extensive utilisation of waste energies. As Finland’s largest producer of solar power, Helen is also building more solar power plants. Energy storage and the development of demand elasticity-related services are also continued.

- Helen will continue to make strong investments in renewable energy solutions, utilising new technology and innovations. By progressing in stages, we will be better equipped to take advantage of developments in the market and technologies when making investment decisions. We aim for carbon-neutral energy production by 2050, says Pekka Manninen, President and CEO of Helen Ltd. 


The option for implementing the development programme approved by the City Council:

Distributed model based on separate heat production

  • The necessary investments will be made in the form of flexible and distributed solutions. 
  • The Salmisaari oil-fired heating plant will be replaced with a new pellet-fired heating plant, which can be commissioned as early as in 2017. The output of the plant is about 100 MW.
  • A new bio-heating plant will be built in the Vuosaari power plant area and possibly at another plant area. 
  • The fuels used at the bio-heating plants will be pellets and/or wood chips. The use of biocoal is also possible. 
  • The distributed option will enable the use of various energy-efficiency solutions and new heat production solutions (e.g. heat pumps, solar heat and geothermal heat), which will be carried out in stages once feasible. These solutions can be implemented by Helen and other operators, e.g. property owners.
  • The distributed model will help to meet the targets of reducing emissions and increasing the use of renewable energy set out in the development programme. 
  • The challenges of increasing the use of biofuels are related to their availability, acceptability and price. 
  • This model now to be implemented reserves the option of building a CHP plant in the Vuosaari area at some time in the future. 
  • The Hanasaari CHP plant can be decommissioned once the bio-heating plants have been commissioned and a sufficient heat production capacity has been secured. In that case, most of the power plant area would be released for other use.
  • This option is feasible on the basis of the environmental impact assessment that has been carried out. 
  • The investments will amount to about EUR 360 million.

Read more about the topic

Carbon neutrality