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A broad-based generating portfolio

Pohjolan Voima is Finland’s largest privately owned energy company, and has a broad range of hydropower, nuclear, CHP, condensing, and wind plants. The company has played a key part in the expansion of biomass-based generation and is committed to further extending its CO₂-free capacity.

Pohjolan Voima has invested heavily in new generating capacity in recent years. Investments over the last 17 years total in the order of €5.5 billion, and the company has 16 projects ongoing.

Biopower has been an important part of Pohjolan Voima’s investments and generating portfolio for many years, and the company and its partners have been responsible for building almost 80% of new biofuel-fired capacity in Finland. All of these plants are CHP facilities that generate electricity, process steam, and district heat at high levels of overall efficiency. Three further biopower plants are currently under construction, ranging in output from 21 MWe to 120 MWe, at Kerava, Pori, and Lappeenranta.

Pohjolan Voima’s biopower plants use a variety of inputs, including forestry by-products, such as thinnings and logging residue in the form of branches and stumps, reed canary grass, waste-derived fuel, and peat. Priority is given to making maximum use of biomass available from forest and arable land in the vicinity of plants.

Erection of one of the 3 MW units at the new wind farm near Kemi in northern Finland. Photo: Kai Tirkkonen.

Water and wind

Pohjolan Voima entered the wind arena in 2003 and is now Finland’s largest wind power producer. A 50 MW nearshore wind park was completed in the Gulf of Bothnia, at Ajos near Kemi, in 2008, and represents a landmark development, as no other wind facility has been built to operate in such demanding ​ conditions.

Two large offshore wind farms, with a total capacity of approximately 1,000 MW, are in the planning stage.

Hydropower is an excellent resource for providing the regulating power needed for wind-based capacity, and Pohjolan Voima runs a number of hydropower plants. Mainly dating from the 1950s and 1960s, these have been upgraded over the years to maintain their systems in optimum condition and enhance their output.

Reed canary grass is an excellent energy source, due to its rapid renewal, high yield per hectare, and good combustion properties. Photo: Kai Tirkkonen

More nuclear capacity

Pohjolan Voima is also the majority shareholder in Teollisuuden Voima (TVO), which operates two 860 MWe nuclear reactors at Olkiluoto in southwest Finland. TVO is currently building a third, much larger reactor at the same site, rated at 1,600 MWe. The first EPR (European Pressurized Water Reactor) design to be built, this is due to start generating electricity in 2012.

TVO has also initiated plans for further expansion at Olkiluoto in the shape of a fourth unit featuring a boiling water or pressurised water reactor rated at 1,000- 1,800 MWe. A green light from Parliament will be required for the go-ahead.

> Juha Poikola
(Published in HighTech Finland 2009)