The downward trend in Helsingin Energia’s
emissions, which had continued for some years, stopped in 2006,
mainly due to a 57% increase in coal consumption compared to 2005.
The use of natural gas remained almost unchanged. The increase in
demand for electricity was caused by the Nordic water situation,
which reduced the supply of hydropower in the market.
Helsingin Energia’s 2006 carbon dioxide emissions
increased from the exceptionally low emissions in 2005 by 30%. The
specific carbon dioxide emissions of the energy sold increased by
approx. 15% to 320 g CO2/kWh. In the 21st century, the specific
emission has been 260–330 g CO2/kWh. In the international reference
year 1990 Helsingin Energia’s carbon dioxide specific emission was
400 g CO2/kWh.
Measured in tonnes, acidifying emissions of
sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxides increased in 2006 from 2005,
sulphur dioxide nearly twofold and nitrogen oxides by over a third.
They remained clearly below the permit limits based on specific
emissions, however, and the emissions expressed in tonnes did not
exceed the level of the peak year 2003.
Helsingin Energia’s particle emissions in 2006
were 290 tonnes, the fluctuation range for these emissions in the
21st century being 270–720 tonnes per year. Microparticle emissions
fell dramatically already at the beginning of the 1990s.
Environmental effects under close
As regards the effects of energy production, the
expansion of district heating, introduction of technical means of
restricting emissions and the wide introduction of natural gas
resulted in good air quality, and the situation remained unchanged
in Helsinki in 2006.
Due to district heating, thermal load on seawater
has in the past decades been relatively small, undiscoverable in
mandatory monitoring of sea areas. Thermal load increased, but did
not reach the level of the peak year 2003 (2,200 GWh). In 2006,
thermal load on seawater was approx. 1,700 GWh. In 2005, the
corresponding emission was 300 GWh.
At Vallila measurement station, the annual average
of sulphur dioxide content which is a good indicator of the effects
of energy production on air quality in Helsinki, was 3.9 µg/m3, i.e.
on the same level as in the preceding year. At their present level,
sulphur emission fluctuations have little effect on air quality in
Helsinki. They were clearly below the limit value of 20 µg/m3 set to
protect the ecosystem. Before the expansion of district heating, in
the 1950s and 1960s, usual annual average sulphur dioxide contents
in the centre of Helsinki were 10–20 times higher than they are now.
Although Helsinki is one of the cleanest capitals
in Europe, the limit value levels or the guide values for air
quality are exceeded from time to time, as regards particles and
also nitrogen oxides. But in these cases the affecting factors are
traffic and long-range transport. The dustiest time is in the
spring, when the snow melts. In 2006, smoke from fires in Russia
polluted air for several weeks in the spring and late in the summer.
On the average, two thirds of microparticle contents in Helsinki are
caused by long-range transport.
Chemical safety ensured
Safety surveys required by the Dangerous Chemicals
Act based on the Seveso II directive were conducted at the
Salmisaari and Vuosaari power plants. The reports were delivered to
the authorities and associated safety communications mailed to
residents living in the vicinity of the power plants.
The periodic inspection performed by the Safety
Technology Authority (Tukes) proved the technical condition of the
Salmisaari and Vuosaari power plants and the measures aimed at
preventing accidents to be at such a high level that an official
inspection can be omitted in 2007.
The Hanasaari area, which has been in industrial
use for 100 years, is partly being converted for other use. During
the year under review, comprehensive studies of the known pollution
of the soil were launched in co-operation with the authorities and
various offices of the city.
The coal combustion process produces bottom ash
and fly ash, while the desulphurisation process generates a solid
desulphurisation product. These materials can be utilised, e.g., in
the concrete industry and earth construction. Due to the increase in
coal consumption, the total quantities of combustion by-products
increased from the previous year.
38% of the by-products were utilised, which is
approximately the same amount as in the previous year. In respect of
bottom ash, seasonal and annual fluctuations can be evened out with
the aid of an intermediate storage located in Vuosaari.
In 2006, the usability of the desulphurisation
plant was 95% in Hanasaari and 77% in Salmisaari. In air quality, no
significant increases in concentrations resulting from repairs were
District heating and district cooling work
hampering traffic in the centre of Helsinki was widely discussed in
the media at the beginning of the year. Additional construction of
infrastructure and real estates in a city that has already been
built is problematic. During the financial year 2006, earthwork site
management was improved. Information about ongoing projects is also
actively provided on web sites in co-operation with the Public Works
Department of the city.
Systems for continuous improvement
The coverage of environmental management systems
advanced at Helsingin Energia. Energy is generated at power plants
certified in accordance with the ISO 14001 standard. In addition to
environmental protection, monitoring of emissions, chemical safety
and safety surveys are managed within the same system.
The environmental management system of office
buildings has been granted the Finnish WWF’s Green Office label. In
addition to Helsingin Energia’s Main Building, it covers six
offices. During the year under review, the environmental
considerations included in the operating systems, drawn up for the
different business units, were specified at HelenDistrictHeat. The
subsidiaries Helen Sähköverkko Oy and Mitox Oy already have