Helen invests in renewable energy and closes Hanasaari power plant
Helen’s Hanasaari power plant will be closed by the end of 2024. Heat production will be replaced with heat recycling with heat pumps, energy storage, and a bioenergy heating plant planned for Vuosaari.
Picture of a bioenergy heating plant planned for Vuosaari
Helen has made preparations to phase out the use of coal and to close the Hanasaari power plant for several years. A completely new heating and cooling plant has been built under the Esplanade Park, and the Katri Vala heating and cooling plant located in Sörnäinen is currently being extended. Furthermore, a cavern heat storage facility, which is unique even on the global scale, is currently built in old oil caverns.
“Helen has the means to replace coal. We continue to invest in large-scale recycling of energy with heat pumps, and we also have projects for the storage of heat. Over a slightly longer time scale, we are investigating several emission-free technologies, such as geothermal heat, utilisation of seawater-source heat, and small modular reactors,” says Helen’s President and CEO Pekka Manninen.
The coal act approved by Parliament will determine the time schedule and, at the same time, the available solutions.
Bioenergy heating plant to Vuosaari
Helen has investigated the possibilities of building bioenergy heating plants in different parts of Helsinki. Helen’s Board of Directors made a decision to plan for the Vuosaari bioenergy heating plant with an objective to enable an investment decision on a new plant in spring 2020. This and the previous investment decisions on heat pumps and energy storage will make it possible to close the Hanasaari power plant.
“The bioenergy heating plant designed for Vuosaari represents a medium-sized bioenergy heating plant on the Finnish scale, meeting about a quarter of the coal use of the closing Hanasaari power plant. The envisaged plant would account for about 15% of Helen’s fuel consumption,” says Project Manager Antti Saikkonen.
The plant would be located next to Helen’s existing power plant site in Vuosaari. The planning objective of the plant is to have it ready for production use in autumn 2023.
The present decisions are estimated to have no impacts on the price of district heat.
- Helen is preparing to phase out the use of coal. The Hanasaari power plant will be closed by the end of 2024. Salmisaari will remain as an energy production area, and the solutions to replace coal are under plan: no investment decisions have yet been made in terms of Salmisaari.
- Substitutive production has been or is being built, investments have been made especially in heat pumps: A completely new heating and cooling plant under the Esplanade Park started operations in summer 2018, and the extension of the Katri Vala heating and cooling plant is currently underway.
- Heat storage is also invested in: the old oil caverns in Mustikkamaa are currently being refurbished into cavern heat storage facilities.
- Helen is now promoting the planning of a new bioenergy heating plant in Vuosaari in order to meet the heat demand of Helsinki also in the coldest periods of the winter.
- The planned size of the Vuosaari bioenergy heating plant would be about 250 MW, with wood chip as the main fuel.
- The plant would account for about 15% of Helen’s fuel consumption.
- The investment value of the project is about EUR 250 million according to the current estimate.
- The planned plant investment will not increase the price of district heat.
- The Vuosaari bioenergy heating plant would replace about a quarter of the coal use of the closing Hanasaari power plant, and heat production will also be replaced with heat pumps and heat storage.
- After the planned measures, Helen’s carbon dioxide emissions will fall by 40% on the 1990 level and the use of coal will be halved.