The majority state-owned energy company Fortum has decided to invest about EUR 225 million during 2023-2027 in projects within the Espoo Clean Heat programme, said the company in a press release on Wednesday.
These will drive decarbonisation and build sustainable waste heat solutions in the Helsinki metropolitan area.
Fortum’s district heat in Finland will be produced coal-free already in 2025 and carbon-neutrally before 2030.
A significant part of the programme’s targets can be achieved by utilising waste heat from Microsoft’s planned large-scale data centers that will be built in Espoo and Kirkkonummi. The waste heat cooperation between Fortum and Microsoft was announced in March 2022.
The investment includes building heat pump plants on the Espoo and Kirkkonummi sites for waste heat recovery and approximately 15 km of new or upgraded district heating main pipeline.
Of the project’s total investment of EUR 225 million, approximately EUR 170 million is allocated to the years 2023-2025. Of the EUR 170 million, EUR 90 million is classified as growth capital expenditure and already included in the Group’s committed growth capital expenditure of EUR 800 million for the years 2023-2025.
“This investment decision is a significant stepstone in reaching our target of carbon neutral district heat production as early as 2029. Once waste heat from Microsoft’s data centers is recovered and recycled to the district heating network in Espoo, Kirkkonummi and Kauniainen, it replaces the remaining use of fossil fuels in heat production. This will be by far the greatest contributor to reaching carbon neutrality. Operating at full capacity, the heat pump plants save about 400,000 tonnes of CO2-equivalent emissions per year and will supply 40% of the district heating consumption in the network area,” said Timo Piispa, acting Vice-President , Heating and Cooling Finland at Fortum.
The timetable for Microsoft's data centre projects will become more precise once the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) procedures have been completed and the building and environmental permits for all sites have been approved.
As part of the Espoo Clean Heat decarbonisation programme, Fortum’s coal burning Suomenoja 1 combined heat and power unit in Espoo will be closed latest at the end of 2025 and the use of oil and gas ramped down before 2030.