Energy companies Fortum and St1 will start a collaboration with the goal to build Finland’s first industrial-scale geothermal pilot heat plant. St1 will begin planning the pilot production plant, which is estimated to be completed in 2016. A construction site for St1’s geothermal production plant is being sought out in the area where Fortum’s Otaniemi or Kivenlahti heat plants are located, and Fortum will buy the heat energy produced by the plant for Espoo’s district heating network.
The geothermal heat plant is estimated to have a production capacity of up to 40 megawatts of geothermal heat energy. With that output, Fortum can cover as much as 10% of the district heat needs in the Espoo region. Because no fuels are used in geothermal heat production, the plant will not generate any emissions into the atmosphere.
Geothermal energy is produced by drilling two holes several kilometres deep into the ground. Water is fed into one of the holes. As the water heats up in the ground, it rises through the other hole. At the heat plant, the heated water goes through a heat exchanger and then into the district heating network. The water becomes so warm in the process that it can be used directly in district heat production without any heat pumps.
“Our goal is to reduce emissions caused by district heating. Geothermal heat is emissions-free energy that hasn’t yet been utilised in Finland on this scale. It increases heat production flexibility and reduces emissions in the Espoo region. This is also a new field for us, and we are anxiously waiting to start the drilling,” says Fortum’s Jouni Haikarainen, Vice President, Heat Finland and Baltics.
“Geothermal heat is a very interesting alternative for emissions-free heat production. In line with our strategy, we are investing in this pilot project because we believe that this method makes it possible to produce significant amounts of energy on an industrial scale also internationally. Our company’s broad, top expertise in the energy sector provides a solid platform for business expansion into new areas of energy production,” says Mika Anttonen, Chairman of St1’s Board of Directors.
Fortum Oyj, Jouni Haikarainen, Vice President, Heat Finland and Baltics, tel. +358 40 709 5690
St1 Nordic Oy, Mika Anttonen, Chairman of the Board of Directors, tel. +358 10 557 11
Fortum’s purpose is to create energy that improves life for present and future generations. Catering to the versatile needs of its customers, Fortum generates, distributes and sells electricity and heat, and offers related expert services. Fortum’s operations focus on the Nordic and Baltic countries, Russia and Poland. In 2013, the sales of Fortum amounted to EUR 6.1 billion with a comparable operating profit of EUR 1.6 billion. Fortum Group employs approx. 8,800 persons. Fortum’s shares are quoted on NASDAQ OMX Helsinki.
St1 is a Finnish energy group implementing its vision to be the leading producer and seller of CO2-aware energy. The company researches and develops economically viable, environmentally sustainable energy solutions. St1’s energy services and products cover everything from wind power to high-concentration ethanol RE85 produced from biowaste and residues. St1 has bioethanol plants in Finland, an oil refinery in Gothenburg, Sweden, as well as St1 and Shell-branded retail stations in Finland, Sweden and Norway. Headquartered in Helsinki, the company employs currently over 550 people in Finland, Sweden and Norway.