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Helsinki's coal-fired district heating plant shuts down on Saturday

The facility's closure is part of the City's goal to reach carbon neutrality by the year 2030.

Hanasaaren voimalaitos.
File photo of Helen's coal-fired district heating plant. Image: Petteri Bülow / Yle
Yle News

The City of Helsinki-owned energy firm Helen is shutting down operations at the Hanasaari coal-powered, district heating plant on Saturday, the city announced in a press release.

The city's biggest source of direct emissions has been district heating, according to the City.

Estimates foresee the coal plant's shutdown will cut the city's emissions by up to 20 percent, bring down Helen's overall emissions by 40 percent and cut national emissions by two percent, the city said in the release issued on Friday.

Helsinki City Council voted to close the facility in 2015.

Hanasaari's closure is an important, historic change for the capital, the country and the world at large, according to Helsinki Mayor Juhana Vartiainen.

"Cities over the world 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," Vartiainen said.

Bioenergy will be used to replace a large part of the coal burned at its new bioenergy heating plant in the City's Vuosaari district. The company also plans to increasingly produce heat with waste heat recycling by using heat pumps. It will also increase its use of renewable energy sources, including hydro, wind and solar, according to the city.

“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," Helsinki deputy mayor for urban environment, Anni Sinnemäki (Green) said in the release.

The city is exploring the possibility of using the Hanasaari facility for a new purpose but said more analysis into the matter is needed.

Architect Timo Penttilä started designing the Hanasaari power plant in 1962 and the facility has been in use since 1974.

The closure of the power plant is part of the City's goal to reach carbon neutrality by the year 2030.

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