For Vantaa Energy, year 2020 was good despite the coronavirus pandemic. Although coronavirus brought challenges, the year as a whole was very significant with respect to the development of our occupational safety culture and the transition to cleaner energy. As a result of several projects launched during the year, Vantaa Energy is steadily progressing towards being fossil-free in 2026.
One of the key targets last year was the improvement of the occupational safety culture and, as a result, occupational safety developed in a very positive direction during the year. Another major target was related to the reduction of emissions from energy production. With respect to emissions, we successfully continued the falling trend of the past few years. In 2020, the emissions were at a record low level, 260,000 tonnes. The reduction from the previous year was 180,000 tonnes and about a quarter from the figures before 2014.
– Last year’s emissions reduction was partly attributable to the exceptionally mild winter, which had an impact on the sale of electricity and heat and, subsequently, to the total amount of emissions. Consumption of coal and natural gas was very low during the year, and coal will be phased out completely in 2022, says Jukka Toivonen, CEO of Vantaa Energy.
Coronavirus presented its own challenges last year because the company’s task is to safeguard necessary energy production for society under all circumstances. The efficiency of waste management of 1.5 million residents is part of the security of supply, which must be guaranteed also under exceptional circumstances.
– In terms of our own employees, we did our utmost to safeguard the health of people, and we adopted new safety practices for working in close proximity to others. A large number of people also started working from home. Due to the nature of our operations, fortunately we didn’t need to resort to layoffs, Toivonen sums the past year.
Major targets direct the decisions to be made along the way
The exceptional circumstances in 2020 did not prevent Vantaa Energy from advancing towards its targets, and the company is on its way to phasing out coal in 2022. This is enabled especially by the decision to build an extension to the waste-to-energy plant, which was taken at the beginning of the year. The construction of the power plant was started immediately after the decision, and it will utilise sorted waste from trade and industry, vast amounts of which are currently exported.
– In autumn 2020, we published our significant decision to phase out fossil fuels by 2026. To enable a fossil-free future, we launched several projects during last year, Toivonen explains.
The most important of these projects are the seasonal heat storage facility that enables the utilisation of waste heat, the plans for large-scale utilisation of circular economy waste, and the production of geothermal energy in Varisto in Vantaa.
Financially a good year
Last year can be defined as good for Vantaa Energy from the financial point of view. For example, the mild weather had an impact on the amount of heat sales, and the wholesale market price of electricity was at an exceptionally low level. Fossil fuels were hardly used during the year, and consequently the prices of emission allowances remained low.
– Vantaa Energy was able to meet the profit expectations of its owners, and the achieved result enabled payment of a dividend to the owner cities as planned. We are also glad that the satisfaction among our heat customers rose to record levels, says Toivonen.
In addition, Oomi Oy, an electricity retail sale company established with nine other energy companies, was launched in April. In the early stage, the intention is to raise the company’s profile and promote the favourable prices and ease of the electricity offered by Oomi Oy.
Climate change will not wait
Year 2021 is looking good for Vantaa Energy. The number one issue for the company is still to strengthen the occupational safety culture in order to reduce the number of occupational accidents towards the zero target. In addition, Vantaa Energy has already started to improve its stakeholder communications, and it wants to continue further development of the dialogue and visibility. High targets for cleaner energy continue.
– Improvement of energy efficiency, promotion of circular economy, and new investments in wind power and geothermal energy are the key areas for us in 2021. The use of peat is already low and we are soon phasing it out completely, Toivonen says.
The coronavirus pandemic continues, and it is important to ensure that Vantaa Energy’s employees can cope with working under exceptional circumstances. It is also important that, for example, it will be possible to carry out power plant maintenance arriving from abroad also in the future. However, according to Toivonen, the most important work continues:
– Phasing out fossil fuels is a clear goal for us because climate change will not wait. Our current plans and projects lead us towards being fossil free although the schedule for 2026 is tight. However, it is of utmost importance for us to be a forerunner in the transition of the energy sector.
Headed by Jukka Toivonen, Vantaa Energy is a growing circular economy energy company, which invests in finding carbon-neutral energy solutions. The energy sector has a significant role in the mitigation of climate change. Vantaa Energy is acting as quickly as possible to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Therefore we are #fossil-free2026