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Fortum Värme to fast track coal phase out, plans for a new CHP in Stockholm

In Sweden, energy utility Fortum Värme AB has announced that it is fast-tracking the phase-out of coal still used in its Stockholm heat and power (CHP) plants to be completed by 2022. It also revealed plans for a new CHP to be fired by renewable and/or recycled fuels.

Fortum Värme's newly commissioned biomass-fuelled combined heat and power plant in Stockholm, Sweden.
Fortum Värme’s newly commissioned biomass-fuelled combined heat and power (CHP) plant in Stockholm, Sweden. rtum Värme's newly commissioned biomass-fuelled combined heat and power (CHP) plant in Stockholm, Sweden.

Fortum Värme, an energy utility that operates in Stockholm, Sweden and jointly owned by the City of Stockholm and Finland-headed energy major Fortum, has announced that it is fast tracking the phase out of coal used in its Stockholm heat and power (CHP) plants.

This is a big step towards the goal of Stockholm being fossil fuel-free by the year 2040. We will be phasing out coal in 2022, which is faster than previous calculations. Stockholm will continue to take the area of climate change and inspire other cities to follow suit. A purposeful prioritisation of environmental issues brings results, said Karin Wanngård, Mayor of Stockholm (S) in a statement.

The company also revealed that it is considering the possibility to build a new CHP  in Lövsta, northwest Stockholm and has begun the planning and permitting processes needed to make an investment decision. If everything falls into place, a decision could be taken during 2018.

City expansion and plant renewal

Over the past six years, Fortum Värme has invested over SEK 7 billion (≈ EUR 740 million) into new sustainable heat production with two new CHP plants, Brista and Värtan. At the same time, the city continues to expand and the company has already decommissioned several small and inefficient installations.

The use of coal at Värtan is to be phased out and the 60-year old Hässelbyverket CHP is due to be replaced while still ensuring the continued security of supply to the city’s district heating network.

Initiatives announced by Fortum Värme include:

  • Project Stockholm Data Parks for large-scale heat recovery from data centres
  •  Capacity increases in existing heat production facilities
  •  Continued development of customer interaction through the Open District Heat platform
  •  New digitisation solutions for customers
  • Interconnections and storage solutions in the trunk district heat network
  • New production capacity based on renewable or recycled fuels

There are still several challenges, but we now know that we have the capacity to replace Hässelbyverket and bring forward the coal phase out by almost a decade. The goal is to achieve this by 2022. This means that both Fortum Värme and the City of Stockholm could meet its climate targets much earlier than planned, said Anders Egelrud, CEO of Fortum Värme in a statement.

As an expansive city, there is an urgent demand for housing. The Hässelbyverket CHP site is both large and a waterfront property by Lake Mälaren making it very attractive for housing development.

It is a great success for Stockholm and the climate that the closing of Stockholm’s biggest emitter of carbon dioxide is brought forward. No other single measure will affect Stockholm’s climate efforts as much as the phasing out of coal-fired heating plant in Värtan, said Katarina Luhr (MP), Environment Commissioner for the City.

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