District heating network goes geothermal

The district heating network serving the Finnish city of Espoo is soon to be powered by geothermal energy, two firms have announced.

Energy companies Fortum and St1 say they are to collaborate on building Finland’s first industrial-scale geothermal heat plant, a pilot project which is expected to come online in 2016 and will supply heat to Fortum for use in the heat network.

The plant will have an output of up to 40 MW, which will cover around 10% of Espoo’s district heating needs. In addition, the companies say the plant will be emissions-free.

Jouni Haikarainen, Fortum’s vice-president for Heat, Finland and Baltics, said: ‘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.’  

Mika Anttonen, chair of St1’s board of directors, added: ‘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.’  

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