The FINANCIAL -- NIB has signed a 12-year loan with Finnish utility Helen Oy to finance an increase in the proportion of renewable fuels in its energy production.
The EUR 22 million loan will help finance the construction of a wood pellet heating plant in Salmisaari, Helsinki, Finland, and an underground cooling centre.
The Salmisaari plant will become the largest of its kind in Finland, with a fuel capacity of 100 MW and an estimated district heat output of 230–280 GWh annually, enough to heat about 25,000 two-room apartments. Operations are scheduled to commence in February 2018, according to NIB.
The new pellet heating plant will replace natural gas and oil used to produce district heat. The new production will correspond to approximately 58,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions avoided every year.
Helen Oy will also install two heat pumps in connection with the water basin used for district cooling. The water basin is located in a rock cavern beneath Helsinki city centre. The heat pumps will be connected to both Helen’s district cooling and district heating networks. The heat pumps will have a total cooling capacity of 15 MW and a heating capacity of 22 MW. The heat pump installation is scheduled for completion by April 2018.
Helen Oy is the parent company of the Helen Group, which produces and sells electricity, district heating and cooling. The company has almost 400,000 customers throughout Finland, its district heat covers over 90% of Helsinki’s heating needs, and it is in the process of expanding its energy-efficient district cooling in Helsinki. Helen aims to achieve 100% carbon neutrality in its energy production. The company is owned by Helsinki City. As of 30 June 2016, the company employed 1,128 people.