In order to curb climate change, we need ambitious targets, which are found in the government’s new policy outlines. Helen is currently the biggest investor in the reduction of the use of coal in Finland, with an objective of carbon neutral production by 2050.
The diverse energy system in Helsinki enables many kinds of new solutions for implementing carbon neutrality in ways that are more cost-effective and market-driven than coercive measures. Already almost half of the heating energy needed in the summer is produced by utilising waste heat.
– It is positive that the security of energy supply has been taken into account in the government proposal. We support cost-effective reduction of coal use, says Helen’s President and CEO Pekka Manninen. – However, in our opinion, the primary objective in terms of the climate is to reduce emissions instead of focusing on individual fuels.
Sufficiency of domestic forest energy is a concern
Helen’s Hanasaari and Salmisaari power plants use domestic pellets in addition to coal, and a completely new pellet-fired heating plant is under construction in Salmisaari. Helen is currently using one-third of the wood pellets produced in Finland. It can already be seen that domestic biofuels will not be enough if all of the planned investments based on forest energy in Finland come to fruition.
Combined heat and power generation is an important part of a low-emission energy system of the future
Combined heat and power generation is a superior solution in terms of the climate. Also, according to a recent study by Sitra, global emissions could be reduced by four gigatonnes by 2030 if 15 Nordic climate solutions were to be extensively introduced. This amount corresponds to the emissions produced by the EU states together. This study also found that combined heat and power generation is the most important climate solution, and it would reduce emissions to a considerable extent if it were utilised in other countries as extensively as in Finland and Denmark.
– Combined heat and power generation is an important, fuel-independent part of a low-emission energy system of the future because it is predictable, it strongly supports renewable energy production that varies according to the weather, and it serves to stabilise the electricity network, Pekka Manninen points out. – We can foresee that the sufficiency of electricity in Finland will be tested in the extremely low temperatures this winter. Cogeneration plants are worth maintaining in order to avoid power shortages.