According to the annual statistics on district heating published by Finnish Energy, substantial emissions reductions have been achieved in district heat production without an increase in consumer costs in the same proportion. Climate emissions fell by 12 per cent during 2019.Over the past five years, the price of district heating has risen by an average of about 1.5% per year. During the same five-year period, carbon dioxide emissions of district heat production have fallen by 24 per cent in relation to thermal unit produced. In ten years, district heat emissions have fallen by a total of 37 per cent per thermal unit produced.District heat production is moving from emission-producing fuels to emission-free ones, the waste heat generated by industry, data centres and homes is utilised, and peat is replaced with biofuels.
“The companies in the sector have a strong common vision that emissions must be brought down”Janne Kerttula, Head of District Heating at Finnish Energy.
“We are now moving to low-emission fuels while constantly seeking new sources of heat. These may include walls of apartment blocks heated by the sun or wastewater that contains residual heat from washing waters,” Kerttula continues.The share of peat in heat production has fallen from 15.5 per cent in 2018 to 14 per cent. The constant reduction in the proportion of fuels that produce climate emissions is also partly explained by the costs. For example, the price of coal has tripled since 2004, and emissions trading is constantly accelerating this change.“The climate policy has been a success in this respect,” says Jukka Leskelä, Managing Director of Finnish Energy.
“Emissions trading has pushed up the price of emissions so that significant emissions reductions have been economically sensible for both heat producers and customers. Emissions trading must be strengthened further. It is important to ensure that the operating environment of businesses remains predictable also in the future,” Leskelä continues.The share of renewable fuels has increased more than fivefold over the past two decades. Waste heat has not been utilised for as long as renewables. However, its share has more than tripled in ten years, and the trend is growing.“It is recorded in the Government Programme that heat pumps that feed district heat will be moved to the lower tax class,” Jukka Leskelä says. “The decision should be made quickly so that, for example, thermal energy produced as a by-product of industry and data centres can be utilised even better than at the moment.”Fact boxConsumption of district heat totalled 32.4 TWH during 2019, a reduction of some 3 per cent on the previous year attributable to the weather conditions.
Of the heating months, especially February and December were exceptionally warm. Temperature-corrected district heat consumption grew to 35.4 TWh.District heating has retained its market share well. It accounts for almost half of the heating of all buildings and 57 per cent of new buildings. Seventy per cent of municipalities utilising district heat produce heat with renewable fuels and/or by utilising waste heat.In about 90 per cent of municipalities, district heat is mainly produced with domestic fuels. The share of domestic fuels in total district heat production was 68 per cent (65 per cent in 2018). Imported fossil fuels accounted for 31 per cent, a fall of three percentage points since 2018.
The share of climate-neutral fuels is 53 per cent of production, an increase of seven percentage points on 2018.Energy Industry supports the government’s climate neutrality target for 2035 and has pledged to at least halve the emissions from energy production by 2030.The contracted capacity of district cooling grew by 15 per cent on the previous year, i.e. district cooling operations continue to expand. Sales of district cooling energy totalled 280 GWh in 2019, showing a seven per cent fall on the previous year. This was due to a cooler summer than in the previous year. More than 90 per cent of district cooling is produced with energy sources that would otherwise be wasted.Finnish Energy’s district heating statistics for 2019:<