Energy and climate became topics of public discussion in the
financial year 2006. Agitating news of electricity and gas delivery
failures and increased storms all over the world and prestigious
reports on economic consequences of the climate change brought the
problem to common knowledge. The wide impact of various solutions
has also come up clearer than before. Not only production and
transmission of energy, but also its consumption should be
energy-efficient and at the same time eco-efficient. Means of
affecting climate change should be found within every link of the
chain, which is also the target of the energy package prepared in
As regards environmental issues, the key objects of
reporting are the effects of operations on the climate and air
quality. Emissions vary considerably from year to year. Helsingin
Energia’s figures for 2006 were distinctly higher than the preceding
year’s emission quantities which were lower than usual. In the
annual fluctuation of carbon dioxide emissions in respect of
electricity, the water situation of Norway is the decisive factor.
At the beginning of 2006 there was little water in storage
reservoirs, and some Swedish nuclear power plants were closed for
repairs, due to which thermal power plants with higher emission
rates were needed also in summer to cover power consumption.
High production efficiency
Energy efficiency is the main goal of Helsingin Energia’s
environmental strategy. It is implemented in combined heat and power
production, district cooling, and information on sensible use of
Highly efficient combined heat and power production (CHP)
accounted for 78% of generation of electricity in Helsinki.
Helsingin Energia obtained 49% of its electricity from natural gas,
29% from coal, 16% came from shares in nuclear power, and 6% from
renewable energy sources.
District heating satisfies almost half of real estates’ heating
needs in Finland, and up to 93% in Helsinki. In 2006, CHP accounted
for over 91% of district heating in Helsinki.
More significant than mere shares of raw material is the
efficiency of net energy generation. The specific emission of carbon
dioxide in 2006 was 320 g/kWh, while the figure for reference year
1990 is 400 g/kWh. Starting from the 1950s, Helsingin Energia has
been engaged in eco-efficient cogeneration of electricity and heat.
At the beginning of the millennium, a third element, production of
district cooling, was added to this. Compared to decentralised
solutions, district cooling not only saves space and energy, but
also reduces emissions and city noise.
The efficiency of natural gas and coal power stations continues
to be kept as high as possible. CHP also represents clean coal
technology. At its highest level, it enables carbon capture and
storage (CCS). This subject has come up throughout the world and was
also looked into at Helsingin Energia.
Technology ensures environmental
Although emissions from power and heating plants in Helsinki have
increased, efficient purification of flue gases has kept their
impact on air quality insignificant compared to other sources.
Jammed traffic and foreign terrain fires were evident in contaminant
contents, and smoke could be felt in the spring and late summer
throughout southern Finland. At measurement stations of the Helsinki
Metropolitan Area Council (YTV), the contents of nitrogen oxides and
particles were higher than in preceding years.
Along with fossil fuels, the role of renewable energy sources was
discussed also at Helsingin Energia. In power supply, the aim is to
increase the shares of hydropower, wind power and nuclear power. The
need for district heating and the growth of new districts are so
extensive that renewable energy sources cannot offer any
significant addition to Helsinki’s existing co-generation structure
in the short term.
A new source of energy which the Katri Vala heating and cooling
plant utilises in production of district heating and district
cooling is the heat of purified wastewater. It is important to
increase Finland’s already high proportion of biomass utilisation,
but from the climatic point of view the location of its utilisation
is not essential. For logistic reasons, biomass or waste energy
should be utilised close to its place of origin. Helsingin Energia
has a development program for renewable energy sources, which we
Clean museum hydropower
Since May 2000, the re-repaired museum hydroelectric power plant
in Vanhakaupunki district has generated ’environmental penny
electricity’ for customers who have chosen it. At the turn of the
years 2005–2006, problems were discovered at the museum
hydroelectric power plant and the water turbine had to be repaired
again. In spring, the power plant was commissioned and opened for