Helsinki has pledged to become carbon neutral by the year 2030. At the moment, the city’s most noteworthy source of direct emissions is district heating. Shutting down the coal-fired power plant in Hanasaari will result in a significant emissions reduction. According to estimates, Helsinki’s total emissions will decrease by up to 20 per cent, and Helen’s emissions will fall by 40 per cent. The closure is expected to reduce national emissions by approximately two per cent.
“The closing of the Hanasaari plant is an important and historic change for Helsinki, Finland and, ultimately, the whole planet. Cities the world over have assumed a leading role in the fight against climate change, promoting state action with their efforts. Helsinki wants to be a bold forerunner, on both a national and global level. The fact that we have been able to resolutely move forward with our plans to shut down a major coal-fired power plant in our city, in the midst of a disruptive world situation, is a strong indicator of our determinedness in this area,” said Mayor of Helsinki Juhana Vartiainen.
Once the coal-fired power plant is permanently closed, a large part of the energy used to heat Helsinki homes will be generated by Helen’s new bioenergy heating plant, located in the Helsinki district of Vuosaari. In the future, heating production will include more waste heat recycling with the use of heat pumps, in addition to electricity-generating water, wind and solar power solutions, for example.
“I’m proud of Helsinki’s ambitious climate objective to attain climate neutrality by 2030 and the wide-ranging work that we are doing to reach this landmark goal. The shutdown of this coal-fired power plant is the single largest step we have taken in our comprehensive work towards this end,” said Helsinki’s Deputy Mayor for Urban Environment Anni Sinnemäki.
The City of Helsinki has conducted a preliminary assessment exploring the possibility of using the culturally and historically significant power plant building for a new function. Architect Timo Penttilä began his design of the premises back in 1962, and the structure has been in use since 1974.
More analysis is necessary, however, before any decisions about using the building and its surrounding area can be made. Some of the required technical and financial studies cannot be performed until the plant’s energy production has come to a halt.
Journey towards our goal continues
“Shutting down the Hanasaari power plant considerably lowers emissions and is also an excellent demonstration of the kinds of impactful action that we must continue to take moving forward. Additional measures must now build on this good development, if we aim to achieve the emissions reduction targets set out in the Helsinki City Strategy,” said Kaisa-Reeta Koskinen, Project Manager of the City of Helsinki’s Emissions Reduction Programme.
Substantial measures to reduce emissions will also be needed in the future. Helsinki’s Carbon-neutral Action Plan was renewed in 2022 to focus in particular on the most effective measures to achieve the city’s emission targets. Moving forward, calculation of total emissions requires that measures be introduced in each of the priority areas listed in the City Strategy, namely heating, transport and construction. This will allow the City of Helsinki to reach its carbon neutrality goal within the targeted timeframe.
Teresa Salminen, Senior Advisor to Helsinki Mayor Juhana Vartiainen
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Julianna Kentala, Special Advisor to Helsinki Deputy Mayor Anni Sinnemäki
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Kaisa-Reeta Koskinen, Emissions Reduction Programme Project Manager
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