EU intends to promote heat storage – Vantaa Energy to build the world’s largest seasonal heat storage

The European Union intends to support the development of innovative heat storage solutions to mitigate climate change. This commitment is warmly welcome, as such technologies are vital for speeding up the phase-out of fossil fuels. Vantaa Energy is currently building the world’s largest seasonal thermal energy storage system, which can, for example, store solar heat produced in the summer for use in cold winter days. However, developing new technologies requires close co-operation between companies and society. The time to act is now.

The European Commission recently affirmed that it would support the development of innovative heat storage solutions to mitigate climate change. In its response to the European Parliament, the Commission states that it will promote large-scale heat storage solutions and smart district heating networks. The Commission also intends to facilitate the reuse of waste heat.

Jukka Toivonen, the CEO of Vantaa Energy, welcomes the recognition of the important role thermal energy storage and district heating can play in tackling climate change. Innovative heat storage solutions are also vital for achieving Vantaa Energy’s ambitious target of phasing out fossil fuels by 2026.

– By going fossil-free, we will be able to offer our customers more climate-friendly heating produced from a wider range of sustainable energy sources. We want to empower our customers to take action to reduce their carbon footprint. Soon, they will be able to choose geothermal, solar or even wind power as the source of their district heating, Toivonen describes.

An innovative cavern thermal energy storage system, the VECTES, is the most important building block of Vantaa Energy’s Fossil-free 2026 project.

– The VECTES will be the largest seasonal thermal storage facility in the world and will enable us to phase out fossil fuels. The facility can be used to store excess energy produced in the summer for use in cold winter days, Toivonen states.

With the facility, Vantaa Energy can store currently unused waste heat, excess heat from its waste-to-energy power plant and solar heat during periods of low demand for long periods of time. The stored heat can then be used in the wintertime when the demand for heating is high.

Increased reuse of waste heat from cooling and data centres and the storage of excess renewable energy production will improve energy efficiency and help in the transition to a more circular economy. The VECTES will also reduce the need for peak power production and support the further integration of renewable energy sources into the electricity grid. Similar solutions could help the energy sector transition to carbon-neutrality across Europe.

Effective mitigation of climate change and the decarbonisation of energy production require investments in first-of-their-kind technologies. Such projects are naturally financially riskier. Therefore EU-level leadership and funding are needed to unlock investments in EU member states.

Tackling climate change requires utility companies to set concrete targets and act quickly. In late 2020, Vantaa Energy committed to phasing out fossil fuels by 2026. Peat and coal will be phased out more quickly by 2021 and 2022, respectively.

Further information
Vantaa Energy Ltd
CEO Jukka Toivonen
+358 50 453 67 29
jukka.toivonen@vantaanenergia.fi