The age of coal is over in Lahti

The coal-fired Kymijärvi I power plant of Lahti Energy was closed down yesterday on Monday. Abandoning coal is one of the concrete measures that Lahti is taking as Finland’s leading environmental city.

Lahti is now heated with recycled fuel and, starting from the autumn, also with local, certified wood. Lahti is implementing the objectives of the Finnish Government Programme, Nordic countries and the EU about ten years ahead of schedule. Coal ships going to and from the harbour will become a thing of the past, and the cash flow – more than EUR 10 million per year – will turn to the local area.

- “Tackling climate change requires decisions and actions. Lahti is spending approximately EUR 180 million on an environmentally friendly bioenergy plant. We are delighted to be able to lead the way towards carbon neutral urban life. The strong environmental expertise of Lahti is now being used at every stage of energy production. We want to strengthen the circular economy further”, promises Mayor Pekka Timonen.

- “Closing down the coal plant brings us a big step closer to carbon neutral production. Our energy transformation is still continuing with additional investments in emission-free and decentralized energy production and energy efficiency measures, says Eero Seesvaara, CEO of Lahti Energy.

Carbon dioxide emissions of the city reduced to a fraction

The decommissioned Kymijärvi I was introduced to commercial use in 1976 and was the first of the Kymijärvi power plants. In addition to electricity production, the plant was used to handle the energy needs of district heating in Lahti until the 2000s. The closing down of the coal plant will reduce the carbon dioxide emissions of Lahti Energy by some 600,000 tonnes per year, or to 20% of the 1990 level. That is the equivalent of the annual emissions of 60,000 Finns.

After the decommissioning of the old power plant, coal will only be used going forward in the event of possible disruptions, such as if the availability of fuel is compromised.

Construction work of the most environmentally friendly bioenergy plant in Finland nearing completion

The energy transformation is made possible by the Kymijärvi III bioheat plant, whose construction work is in the final stages. The testing and commissioning of the plant will begin next summer. In the 2019–2020 heating season, the new plant will already bear the responsibility for district heating production together with Kymijärvi II.

The new heating plant is fuelled by sustainable, certified wood: logging residue chips and byproduct of the forest industry. Kymijärvi III will be the most environmentally friendly bioenergy plant in Finland. The nutrients in the fuel will recycled back into the forests as granulated ash. The plant is almost self-sufficient in terms of water, taking the process water it needs mainly from the fuel. The small amount of coolant generated in the energy production will be purified to be even cleaner than drinking water before being released into Lake Vesijärvi.

The plant will produce around 80 new permanent jobs in wood harvesting and transport.

In heat production, fossil natural gas, oil and coal have already been replaced for many years by renewable biofuel and recycled fuel. The Kymijärvi II power plant, introduced in 2012, generates energy from waste that is unsuitable for material recycling but is highly combustible. Lahti Energy’s electricity production will also become almost emission-free in 2020.



Photo: unsplash