Thermal power and the environment
Emissions of thermal power production increased with production
Pohjolan Voima’s thermal power plants use coal, peat, wood fuel, agro bio mass and refuse-derived fuels as primary fuels and some natural gas and oil as auxiliary fuels. The most significant environmental impact of thermal power production concerns the atmosphere. Emissions into the air from thermal power plants vary according to production volumes and fuels. In 2010, an increase in production volumes caused the carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels to reach 5.6 million tonnes.
Consequently, other emissions into the air increased as production volumes rose: sulphur dioxide emissions reached 4.1 thousand tonnes, nitrogen oxide emissions 7.5 thousand tonnes and particle emissions 0.4 thousand tonnes.
In April 2010, some lubricating oil leaked into the cooling water channel at Kristiina power plant. The leaked oil could be retrieved, and the environment incurred no damage. Steps have been taken to avoid a similar incident in the future.
Finding good use for by-products
A total of 374,000 tonnes of fly ash, bottom ash and gypsum were produced, fly ash and gypsum as by-products from flue gas cleaning. Of this volume, 47 per cent was reutilised in earth construction and the construction industry or as forest fertiliser. Reutilisation levels continued to decrease compared to the satisfactory level of over 70 per cent in 2007 and 2008. The main reason for this is the delayed recovery of reutilisation of ash in earth construction, which slowed down during the recession. Nevertheless, the aim is to reuse a maximum share of these by-products of thermal power production as raw material that could replace non-renewable natural resources, such as rock and stone.
Pohjolan Voima’s by-products have been registered according to the requirements of the European Community’s REACH regulation. The new Waste Tax Act that entered into force at the beginning of 2011 makes dumping of fly ash and gypsum in landfill subject to waste tax.