The continuous raising of the excise duty on heat will drive customers away from efficient combined heat and power generation.

Although the challenges faced by the country’s CHP plants continued in 2016, SSAB and EPV Energy’s associated company, Raahen Voima Oy, launched a new power plant in Raahe. The total value of the investment amounted to approximately MEUR 112. The new power plant is both more environmentally friendly and, in terms of useful efficiency, more efficient than the previous plant. It produces approximately half of the electricity used by the steelworks SSAB Raahe using, for example, the process gases produced by the factory. In addition, the heat and steam created in the processes is utilised for heating.

Also, the investment proposal for the new LNG terminal to be completed in the spring of 2018 in Raahe was approved. The terminal will allow the SSAB factory to abandon the use of heavy fuel oil in its energy generation. This change will also reduce the emissions from the steelworks.

Tornion Voima’s power reserve boilers converted to LNG use

Over the year, the usability of EPV Energy’s subsidiary Tornion Voima’s power plant has been excellent at 99.7%. The company’s power plants generated:

  • electrical energy 156 GWh
  • heat 504 GWh

Over the summer, the power plant’s turbine had a general overhaul. The turbine was discovered to have incurred some corrosion damage which lengthened the maintenance time by two weeks.

Tornion Voima also decided to invest in LNG: its power reserve boilers are being converted for LNG use instead of heavy fuel oil. The operation will be fully completed in 2018.

Vaskiluodon Voima invested heavily in biofuels

The usability of the Vaskiluodon Voima plant was 98.5% in 2016. The Seinäjoki and Vaasa power plants generated:

  • electrical energy 1566.4 GWh
  • heat 845.6 GWh

The Vaasa power plant had a two week annual service, which took slightly longer than planned due to the replacement of turbine valves. The Seinäjoki power plant had a five-week annual service due to the full inspection of the boiler. The inspection of the condenser tubes caused the service to stretch two weeks longer than planned.

Vaskiluodon Voima’s target is to replace fossil fuels with biomass whenever economically viable. In 2016, the biomass gasification plant generated a record-breaking amount of condensing power. When electricity prices were at their lowest, the power plant was run without coal at low loads on just the biomass producer gas.

The year 2016 was the first complete operating year of Vaskiluodon Voima’s on-site crusher. It performed according to expectations and proved a useful investment. The crusher supports the optimisation and cost-effectiveness of domestic fuel procurement. Fuel logistics also improved considerably: the energy content of one load is larger than before and the need for transportation has been reduced.

Cost-effectiveness programme unites the organisations of the Vaasa and Seinäjoki power plants

Over the year, Vaskiluodon Voima began to implement a comprehensive cost-effectiveness programme. It includes, for example, the reorganisation of use and maintenance and the optimisation of material, substance and service acquisition and of fuel procurement.

One part of the programme involved personnel restructuring. For economic and production reasons, the company engaged in employee cooperation negotiations concerning the entire staff. The objective of the reorganisation is to make operations more effective, increase flexibility, make cost savings and ensure the company’s competitiveness. The Seinäjoki and Vaasa power plants will be merged into one organisation with a centralised management structure.

Heavy rains took their toll on EPV Bioturve’s year of production

Due to the very heavy rains, this was the poorest year in history for peat harvesting. EPV Energy’s subsidiary, EPV Bioturve, only achieved 40–45% of its target. However, three new and significant projects were started and prepared over the summer as far as the weather permitted:

TurvenevaAreaMeasures 2016For production
310 hectaresPreparation. The closing of the area with surface ditches was postponed until 2017.First stage 2018
78 hectaresPreparation2019
108 hectaresBasic infrastructure begun: roads and electrification2018

What is the fuel of the future?

The fuel range of energy generation may diminish.

For the whole country, 2016 was a very rich year in terms of forest industry by-products, and competitive prices also increased their use. In the future, by-products may be utilised more and more often as raw material for liquid biofuels. In the long run, the effect of CO2 calculations on the entire fuel range of energy generation will remain a question mark.