Energy solutions and new investments

Text: Kreetta Haaslahti Photos: Julia Hannula, Suomen Hyötytuuli Oy & Gasum Oy

Satakunta is the largest electricity producer in Finland, as a quarter of all electricity in the entire country is produced there. In addition to extensive energy production, the industrial structure of Satakunta also uses a lot of energy. Business and regeneration opportunities are plentiful particularly in the Meri-Pori area, which could be characterised by words such as process industry, maritime, energy intensive and smooth logistics in the movement of large flows of goods and raw materials.

Taking these circumstances into account, the business-to-business service company Prizztech has created a 2025 vision based on energy and environmental operations in the Pori region.
– The focus of the vision is to attract investments in the area. And investments, for their part, create jobs, summarises Marko Lehtimäki, Development Director at Prizztech Oy.
– The fact that Satakunta produces and consumes a lot of energy means that there is already a functioning and complete energy infrastructure in place. An industry that consumes a lot of energy finds it easy to locate in Meri-Pori, for example. The port is nearby, energy is produced nearby and the construction of electric grids does not need investments, Jarkko Vuorela adds.

Lehtimäki believes that the selection of renewable energy forms will become more diverse in the future.
– The aid policy is apparently being directed toward cutting support for a certain form of renewable energy production, but the various forms compete against each other and hopefully the most efficient and best one will win, Lehtimäki ponders.

Marko Lehtimäki © Julia Hannula

Marko Lehtimäki has led Prizztech's research and development operations since 2009.

This kind of a competitive situation creates new opportunities and Prizztech helps to highlight these opportunities by making preparations, completing advance work and putting together market reports. Examples of opportunities that have been turned into realities are the offshore wind park being built by Suomen Hyötytuuli in Tahkoluoto and the LNG terminal which was inaugurated in the autumn of 2016 and built by Skangas, Gasum's subsidiary.
– Right now, we are evaluating the potential projects and investments related to solar energy. Satakunta has been active in this regard, because the second regional plan has some areas reserved for solar energy production, Vuorela says.

Wind energy has potential

Satakunta's geographic location is between two significant wind power markets. When you're standing in the Port of Pori and look toward the Baltic Sea, it will be the location of an offshore wind market that will be worth up to five billion euros. According to a market study, this will be take place in 2017–2020. Looking from the port toward western Finland, the potential of wind power on land equals four billion euros in the same time frame.

Offshore wind park of Tahkoluoto

Illustration of Suomen Hyötytuuli's offshore wind park in Tahkoluoto © Suomen Hyötytuuli Oy.

Wind mills and their main components are currently obtained from overseas. The domestic rate of wind farms that are planned to be built could be increased from the current 20% to even 60% and this is the kind of development that Prizztech wants to support.
– We are looking for Finnish collaboration partners who could take care of the construction of wind mills, for example, Vuorela says.

The towers of wind mills could be made in Finland in the future as well.
– Denmark has very efficient tower manufacturing and it has been very difficult to compete with that. As the towers are becoming higher, it has turned out that the efficient Danish production lines aren't very well suited for the new, larger dimensions. This could be a good niche for Finnish manufacturers, Vuorela plans.

In the next few years, Finnish wind power parks will enter the post-warranty period, which will mean an increased need for workforce in terms of service, maintenance and upkeep.
– Five years ago, there were probably 50 power plants. Now, there are 500 of them. This also means that ten times more people are needed in maintenance, Vuorela explains.

Jarkko Vuorela © Julia Hannula

Jarkko Vuorela leads the energy solutions team at Prizztech.

Prizztech, Winnova, the Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment as well as the Employment and Economic Development Centre are currently designing recruitment-based training for wind power maintenance operations. The idea is to train people who will actually be employed by companies that supply turbines or that provide maintenance services.
– This is a good example of how we operate. We identify needs, activate various players to work on them and move things forward. This is a way to create training opportunities and workplaces, Lehtimäki says.

A pioneer in the gas industry

The autumn of 2016 saw the completion of Finland's first import terminal of liquefied natural gas, or the LNG terminal, in Port Tahkoluoto of Pori. The gas is transported via a pipe from the port to the Kaanaa industrial area for use by Huntsman Pigments and Additives Oy, and on tanker lorries to the Harjavalta Industrial Park. The Port of Pori is also the only place in and around the Gulf of Bothnia, where gas can be provided as fuel for ships directly from the terminal. LNG is expected to become more common as a form of fuel used by sea traffic, as it meets the tightening restrictions on, for example, nitric oxide, particle and carbon dioxide emissions.

Skangas' LNG terminal © Gasum Oy

Skangas' LNG terminal was opened in Pori in the autumn of 2016 © Gasum Oy.

The next step in Satakunta comprises investing in gas distribution centres, starting to use gas in traffic and expanding the production of biogas.
– The opening of the LNG terminal initiated the gas industry in Satakunta. The current infrastructure was constructed for the needs of fossil natural gas but the same infrastructure can be utilised to increase the use of biogas, which is a greener option. Natural gas and biogas can be transported through the same pipe, Vuorela explains.

By the summer of 2017, Pori will have its first vehicle filling station. The arrival of the terminal solidified the construction of a biogas plant by the water treatment plant of Pori.
– One investment has led to another, Lehtimäki summarises.

The key to the emergence of the gas-based operations was the desire of the industry. Particularly Huntsman showed active interest in the matter. The flexibility of the City of Pori is also praised.
– They were going to locate the terminal in Turku. Some problems there made it possible for Pori to make plans for the terminal area very quickly, reminds Lehtimäki.

Gas development plan 2020 for Pori area.

When the filling station network of gas-fuelled cars is expanded, the option of gas-fuelling will become a real option for private vehicles as well. Gas-fuelled cars are priced approximately the same as petrol or diesel-fuelled cars but the fuel is cheaper.
– Gas-fuelled cars can also utilise petrol so you can drive even without gas. And if you don't want to buy a new car, it is possible to change the motive power from petrol to gas.

Prizztech also has collaboration initiatives with Winnova in terms of changing the motive power. In the future, it may be possible to participate in training that covers the change of motive power for a greener option on a DIY basis.