UPM Energy, Finland's second largest electricity producer, makes way for a cleaner future as a pioneer in the energy sector where combating climate change has started off by abandoning fossil fuels in production and increasing emission-free electricity production.
"Energy companies will have a crucial role, as they help other organisations reduce their emissions, when society becomes electrified. In addition, with the war in Ukraine, energy companies will play a key role in Europe's efforts to reduce its dependence on fossil energy imports”, says Joona Turtiainen, Advocacy Director at the Finnish Energy Industry Association.
Finland has one of the most ambitious climate goals in the world, as it is aiming to be carbon neutral by 2035. According to Finnish Energy, the whole energy sector in Finland has cut its emissions roughly estimated by at least a half during the past decade.
Pioneer in low emissions
With its low emissions production, UPM Energy is a statistical anomaly among the European electricity companies. Even today, as much as 98 percent of UPM Energy's electricity production has zero emissions.
This is quite an achievement, as UPM Energy is the second largest electricity producer in Finland with its capacity of approximately 1,500 megawatts. The zero emissions are explained by the technologies used: emission-free nuclear power and renewable hydropower.
"We have cut our emissions. In renewables, our asset is hydropower, and we are also increasing our emission-free production," says Maija Ruska, UPM Energy's Director, Finance & Control and Strategy.
Olkiluoto 3 nuclear power plant, just starting its production, will significantly increase UPM Energy's CO2 free electricity production. The Olkiluoto electricity will replace electricity produced with fossil fuels that is leaving the market, and it will meet the growing demand for electricity.
"Different scenarios indicate that the use of electricity can grow by 50–100 percent in decades to come. Right now, a bit over 20 percent of energy is used as electricity, and in the next decades, electricity's share can double to 40 percent," says Turtiainen.
Key role in electrification
The use of emission-free electricity increases as it replaces more energy produced with fossil fuels. We are talking about the electrification of the society. The most commonplace example is traffic: electric cars and their spread. In the next few years, fossil energy sources will be replaced by electricity even in heating and the industry.
"Considering the whole energy system, this is a major transformation where the role of renewable wind and solar power, dependent on natural conditions, will grow exponentially. To make renewables more prevalent, the system needs regulating power," says Maija Ruska.
UPM Energy becomes a key player as hydropower is used as balancing power in the energy system. Similarly, UPM Energy's other cornerstone of energy production – nuclear power – guarantees stable electricity production even when the wind doesn´t blow or sun doesn´t shine.