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New underground heat and cooling plant in Helsinki inaugurated

In Finland, Anni Sinnemäki Deputy Mayor of Helsinki has inaugurated a new major underground heating and cooling plant. Located under the Esplanade Park in downtown Helsinki, the plant's large heat pumps produce district heat and district cooling for energy utility Helen Oy.

On August 31, 2018, Anni Sinnemäki Deputy Mayor of Helsinki inaugurated Helen’s new major underground district heating and cooling plant. Located under the Esplanade Park in downtown Helsinki, the plant is the second waste heat utilisation facility for Helen (photo courtesy Helen).

The construction of the Esplanade heating and cooling plant started in spring 2017. The plant has been in operation since early summer, and on August 31, it was officially inaugurated by the capital’s Deputy Mayor Anni Sinnemäki.

This cooling plant that utilises waste heat will reduce Helsinki’s dependence on fossil fuels, such as coal, and take a step towards more sustainable energy production and energy saving. This kind of circular economy is well suited to the most efficient city in the world, and it strongly supports Helsinki’s ambitious carbon-neutrality target, said Deputy Mayor Anni Sinnemäki in her inauguration speech.

Helen now has two large underground heating and cooling plants producing district heat and district cooling; the plants are located in the Esplanade and in Sörnäinen.

As the climate warms and the need for cooling increases also in Finland, the only sustainable way is to use waste heat for cooling. During this summer’s heatwave, the need for cooling was recognised in the city’s homes and workplaces, not to mention hospitals. District cooling is a smart way of cooling as it recycles waste heat from properties and utilises it in the district heating network, Sinnemäki pointed out.

Representing an investment of over EUR 10 million, the heating and cooling plant is located under the Esplanade Park at a depth of some 50 metres. A gigantic cooling accumulator of 25 million litres is also located in connection with the plant. Together they form the new underground Esplanade heating and cooling plant.

Helen aims for climate-neutral energy production, and this new heating and cooling plant is one important step towards this aim. We are among the biggest investors in Finland, and over the next ten years we will invest about half a billion euros in the transition from coal to biofuels, in the utilisation of waste heat and hopefully also in other, new emission-free energy solutions, said Pekka Manninen, President and CEO of Helen in his inauguration speech.

The new Esplanade heating and cooling plant consists of two new heat pumps supplied by Johnson Controls Finland Oy. Each has a capacity to supply 11 MW of heat and 7.5 MW of cooling. The heat pumps will increase the total cooling output of the Esplanade heating and cooling plant to 50 MW – 15 MW heat and 35 MW cooling.

Gunnar Finne’s “Fact and Fable” memorial to Zacharias Topelius is one of several statutes located in Helsinki’s Esplanade Park. Underneath the park, energy utility Helen has a large  district heating- and cooling plant that utilises residual heat from surrounding buildings.

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