Progress in Kilpilahti excess heat project – could supply quarter of the district heating demand of the Helsinki region
In 2019, Neste and Borealis, both operating in Kilpilahti, Porvoo, the southern coast of Finland, conducted a preliminary study together with energy companies in the Helsinki Metropolitan area. The preliminary study examined the utilization of excess heat from Kilpilahti production plants in the production of district heating. The excess heat project will now proceed to the feasibility study phase. According to preliminary estimates, the implementation of the project would cost EUR 700–1,000 million. Excess heat produced in the Kilpilahti plants would cover roughly one quarter of heat needed for the district heating networks in the Helsinki Metropolitan area, and there could also be enough heat for Kerava and Sipoo in Finland.
The project parties are Neste, Helen, Borealis, Fortum, and Keravan Energia.
Currently, approximately 1,000 megawatts of excess heat, equaling the output of a large nuclear power plant, is generated in Kilpilahti. However, the utilization of this excess heat is restricted by the fact that heat is mainly required during the winter season.
“In addition to transportation and electricity, heating is still a considerable source of emissions in the Helsinki region. The utilization of excess heat from Kilpilahti would help us to take a giant leap towards carbon neutral district heating in the entire Helsinki Metropolitan area. If implemented, this project would play a significant part in reaching the Finnish government’s climate targets. What is more, the project’s impact on employment would be over 4,000 person-years,” says Timo Piispa, Head of Heating and Cooling, Finland at Fortum and Janne Rauhamäki, Vice President, Energy Business Development at Helen.
The implementation of the project depends heavily on the level of investments required and taxes on excess heat and heat pumps. Currently, heat pumps that use excess heat and are connected to the district heating system are in the highest electricity tax category in Finland, which significantly increases the price of district heating generated using excess heat.
“The common goal of companies operating in the Kilpilahti industrial area is to utilize the excess heat they produce. Both Neste and Borealis have ambitious strategic targets to reduce their own emissions and those of their customers. The utilization of excess heat would present significant climate benefits in the Helsinki region and increase the energy efficiency of the Kilpilahti industrial area,” says Marko Pekkola, Neste’s Senior Vice President of Oil Products and Salla Roni-Poranen, Managing Director of Borealis Polymers Oy.