Fortum is moving from solar economy research to commercial development

PRESS RELEASE 12.12.2011


”Fortum has long been developing energy solutions for the solar economy, solutions like smart grids, the energy efficiency of electricity production, new residential and transportation solutions, and the know-how required for wave power. In terms of the solar economy, we are more clearly moving from the research and development phase to the commercialisation of solutions,” commented Fortum’s Anne Brunila,  Executive Vice President, Corporate Relations and Sustainability on 8 December 2011, at the Solar economy seminar, arranged by TEKES (Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation) in Helsinki.


Energy from the sun can be utilised either directly, as solar electricity and heat, or indirectly, as hydro, wave, wind and bioenergy, and geothermal heat. Solar energy technologies are advancing quickly, and the use of solar energy is already cost-efficient in small-scale solutions in countries that have plenty of sunshine. Fortum has several solar energy demonstration and research projects under way to tap into its enormous potential.


”Fortum is moving from the research-only phase to priming for actual commercial operations in direct solar energy. Inexhaustible, renewable and emissions-free solar energy will play a significant role in tomorrow’s electricity and heat production. That is why we got off to an early start in its commercial development. The learning curve for solar energy-related technologies has been steep in recent years, and technological breakthroughs can be expected in this area,” Brunila said.  


”Energy must be both produced and consumed in a smart manner. The growth in the share of renewable energy will boost the need for long-term storage of electricity and additional regulating capacity. In this respect, hydropower offers very good opportunities as part of the solar economy. Energy producers and consumers will also need smart grids, meaning, for instance, technologies for the two-way transmission of electricity from the grid to the consumer and from the consumer back to the grid.”


”To an increasing extent, electricity consumers will also become electricity producers. When consumers adjust their own electricity consumption from the most expensive peak consumption periods to the more economical periods, the need for expensive reserve power decreases. Smart grids will allow consumers to sell their surplus electricity back to the grid. Technologies to combine the small streams from distributed energy production units into the large-scale electricity currents must also be developed.”


”The factors driving the transition from fossil fuels to a solar economy-based energy system are known: as the global demand for energy – and particularly electricity consumption – is rapidly growing, the mitigation of climate change is becoming an increasingly acute issue. Population growth will intensify competition for exhaustible natural resources, and therefore the use of limited resources and energy systems must be made more efficient,” Brunila said.


Additional information:
Anne Brunila, Executive Vice President, Corporate Relations and Sustainability, Fortum Corporation, Tel. +358 (0)10 4511