Emission-free district heating is under construction in Espoo

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2017-10-27 14:46

Espoo proceeds along the path of sustainable development and growth. The aim is that the city is carbon neutral by 2030. Emission-free energy production and smart energy solutions are important measures for achieving this goal.

In June 2017, the district heating company Fortum and the City of Espoo made a societal commitment to sustainability: together they will make district heating in Espoo carbon neutral. Today, nearly half of all greenhouse gas emissions in Espoo stem from heat production.

Pasi Laitala

Pasi Laitala, Director for Sustainable Development in the City of Espoo, is pleased with the new solutions for district heat production.

”New solutions are constantly created to increase the diversity of sustainable energy production in Espoo. Fortum is planning to build a new energy plant burning biomass and waste in Ämmässuo and has started a heat plant burning domestic bio oil in Vermo. In Otaniemi, the energy company St1 is building an internationally unique heat plant using Earth’s internal heat. Espoo is a significant platform for development of energy solutions. On a broader scale, solutions created in Espoo support development of business models based on circular economy”, says Pasi Laitala, Director for Sustainable Development in the City of Espoo.

In October 2017, the energy company Fortum and the joint municipal authority Helsinki Region Environmental Services concluded a letter of intent to build an energy production plant at Ämmässuo Waste Treatment Centre in Espoo. The plant will replace the use of coal in energy production and free Espoo of carbon gas emissions. The plant will burn biomass and waste. The intention is that it will be operating within the twenties.

In the beginning of October 2017, Fortum's plant in Vermo started to produce heat from bio oil, replacing fuel oil. The bio oil is made sustainably from wooden stock such as logging residues, wood chips and sawdust.

With the current drilling speed, the first bore hole for the geothermal heat plant in Otaniemi will reach the targeted depth of seven kilometres before the end of 2017. Geothermal heat was captured in the core when Earth formed 4.5 billion years ago. Ground source heat, on the other hand, is energy from the sun stored near to the surface. These non-fossil and renewable energy sources are solutions for the future. The geothermal plant in Otaniemi will produce about ten per cent of the heating needed in Espoo.

District heating solutions create new business

According to a study from last year and a recent follow-up, Espoo is the most economically, ecologically, socially and culturally sustainable city in Europe.

”The aim is to make sure the growth story of Espoo remains sustainable and attractive. The new district heating solutions will significantly increase ecological sustainability in Espoo. The energy solutions will strengthen competitiveness and open up opportunities for export. The new energy solutions will have great, direct impact on residents’ affluence”, Pasi Laitala describes the effects of the solutions.

The City of Espoo also takes part in the work of Helsinki Metropolitan Smart & Clean Foundation. The Helsinki and Lahti regions are prepared to be a platform for an internationally interesting example of sustainable development and urbanisation and for trying out new solutions. The cooperation in the energy field between the City of Espoo and the energy company Fortum underpins this goal.

On 16th October 2017, the City Council approved the goals of four cross-administrative development programmes. The programmes are essential for the development of the city and the implementation of the city’s strategy, the Espoo Story. The programme Sustainable Espoo aims at increasing emission-free energy production. The other goals of the programme concern smart and clean solutions on city level and in travel in the city, growing opportunities for recreation in local nature and sustainability in everyday life.


Pasi Laitala, Director for Sustainable Development, City of Espoo, tel. 043 824 5427