Annual Report 2019

Our priority is maintaining a safe, healthy and diverse environment

Environment

A basic requirement for persistent, long-term energy production is the maintenance of a safe, healthy and diverse environment. Pohjolan Voima’s work to mitigate any environmental impact from the operations is guided by the Group’s environmental and energy efficiency policy. We recognise and determine the environmental impact and risks resulting from our operations, all natural values related to our operations and any opportunities to make our use of energy more efficient.

When preparing environmental impact assessments, we take into account the entire lifecycle of the power plant from project planning to decommissioning. We are committed to improving energy efficiency in all of our energy production modes and all of our facilities.

Environmental management systems certified in accordance with ISO 14001 are in use in the majority of Pohjolan Voima’s production companies. This helps to ensure the achievement of environmental objectives and continuous improvement of operations. In addition, all of our production companies use the energy efficiency system ETJ+ or the energy management system ISO 50001. Some of these systems are certified. Our production companies have also signed energy efficiency agreements for the period 2017–2025. Furthermore, the environmental management system of TVO (a joint venture of Pohjolan Voima) is EMAS-registered.

We aim at carbon neutrality of more than 95% in electricity production

Electricity production forms in Pohjolan Voima’s portfolio that are considered to be carbon neutral are hydropower and nuclear power, as well as electricity produced with carbon-neutral wood fuels in thermal power plants. Our goal is to increase the share of carbon neutral energy sources to over 95% in our electricity production in 2020.

In 2019, 94% of our electricity production was carbon neutral. The increased share of carbon neutral production was due to the fact that the share of nuclear power increased and the combustion of coal and peat decreased. The share of carbon neutral electricity production capacity is on the increase. Capacity increases have risen the share of nuclear power and hydropower among the carbon neutral energy sources, and we have ceased separate production of electricity with coal. Furthermore, regular electricity production of the OL3 EPR plant unit in Olkiluoto is expected to start in 2021.


Carbon-neutral sources of Pohjolan Voima's electricity production in 2015 - 2019, per cent

*Wood-based fuels are carbondioxide-emission neutral.
Per cent20152016201720182019
Nuclear61.2%63.4%66.7%66.6%71.7%
Water17.4%15.5%15.7%12.7%14.0%
Wood-based fuels*10.2%8.71%9.4%8.1%7.9%

94% carbon neutral electricity production in 2019

Sarake 1
Nuclear power71.7%
Hydropower14.0%
Wood-based fuels7.9%
Fossile fuels6.4%
 

Long-term management of aquatic environment and cooperation to restore migratory fish

Hydropower production has regional and local effects on water systems and fish stocks. In order to fulfil its obligation to sustain the fish stocks of the Kemijoki and Iijoki water systems and the sea area, our hydropower company PVO-Vesivoima stocked around 2.2 million fry in 2019. Of these, 0.6 million fry were used to stock the Kemijoki sea and river area. This amounted to 17% of the total of 3.4 million fry stocked together with Kemijoki Oy.


Did you know? Challenges with the transfer of river lampreys past dams into rivers

After a one-year transfer ban was lifted, the transfer of river lampreys continued normally in the Iijoki river. No actual transfer of river lampreys took place in the Iijoki river in 2018, because infectious haematopoietic necrosis (IHN) had been detected in fish of the salmon family in the sea area. In 2019, a total of 45,000 river lampreys were transported. This was less than the goal of 60,000 specimens. As the transfer was successful in the previous years, however, the obligation balance showed a surplus at the end of 2019.

In the Kemijoki river, the joint obligation of PVO-Vesivoima and Kemijoki Oy is 100,000 transferred specimens. A total of 58,000 river lampreys were transported in the Kemijoki river in 2019. Weather conditions and the dry early autumn deteriorated the river lamprey catches. The river lampreys stopped rising somewhat earlier than normal due to the cooling of the water in late autumn.

The obligations are evened out between years; in good years, the number transported exceeds the obligation. Due to the continuing deficit in the Kemijoki river, we have increased, together with Kemijoki Oy, the volume of river lampreys being caught at the Isohaara power plant. The results from new catching locations and methods have been encouraging, but the catching of river lampreys needs to be further developed. New solutions are currently being planned.

 

Visit our website for more information on the fish stock management.

In 2019, inspections according to the Dam Safety Act, held regularly every five years, took place at the dams of the Melo and Maalismaa power plants. A leak detected in the retaining earth dam of the Melo power plant in 2016 was further repaired by grouting in 2019. The grouting did not result in as final and reliable solution as was hoped for. A plan on the final repair method was completed in 2019, and the repair work should be started in 2022. The repair work has not affected the environment or the electricity production operations at the power plant.

We work with partners to restore migratory fish

In January 2019, our hydropower company PVO-Vesivoima signed an agreement on the Iijoki river cooperation with municipalities of the Iijoki region, Metsähallitus, the Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment for North Ostrobothnia, and peat producers. The Iijoki agreement is a continuation to a water system vision project called Iijoen otva that was launched by the Oulu Regional Council in late 2015 and concluded at the end of 2018. The EU was a co-financier of the project. With the agreement, the parties agreed on the implementation of an Iijoki river vision and action plan for 2019–2023, as well as on the establishment of an advisory board and a steering committee on the Iijoki river.

Excellent cooperation in the Iijoki river in a migratory fish spearhead project

Our hydropower company participates in Finland’s largest three-year migratory fish spearhead project in 2017–2020. The project’s action plan includes the following:

  • Fishway for Raasakka power plant
  • Downward migration solutions for smolt (young salmon and trout)
  • Fry transplanting programme
  • Fish transfers
  • Measures to be implemented in old riverbeds of Raasakka and Maalismaa

Coordinated by the Oulu Regional Council, participants of the project include the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, several municipalities in the region, the Iijoki water system fishing area and Metsähallitus.

Haapakoski migration guiding fence

Finland’s first downward migration solution in Haapakoski

The first fence to guide smolt (young salmon and trout) in Finland was installed in the summer of 2019 in the top channel of our Haapakoski power plant as part of the Iijoki river migratory fish spearhead project. Researchers of the Natural Resources Institute Finland will be testing the fence in 2020 and 2021.

A guiding fence and a downward migration route create a migration route through which smolt can be guided past power plants. The construction plan for the downward migration route should be completed in spring 2020.

 

In March 2017, PVO-Vesivoima and Metsähallitus filed a joint application with the Regional State Administrative Agency for Northern Finland for a water management permit to build planned fishways at Raasakka. The application was supplemented in November 2019 with new plans.

Horstail cutting at Raasakka

Cooperation to develop old riverbed in Raasakka

We develop the old natural riverbed of the Iijoki River at Raasakka with local partners. The project, ending in 2021, aims to improve the flow conditions and water quality, as well as to improve the state of the fish stocks and promote recreational use of the area.

In summer 2019, we added water to the Uiskari fishway to boost the rising of fish. Promising results of the fishway have been received.

Some horsetail and willow bushes have been removed from the old riverbed, and a boat ramp has been restored. Previously, beaches were restored and new recreational paths were opened.

 

Joint development of regulation

We are developing regulation of the source lakes of the Iijoki river in cooperation with the municipality of Taivalkoski and the authorities. The year-round ecological flow that was already in use at the Kostonjoki river, at least two cubic metres per second, was confirmed with a cooperation agreement in 2018.

A similar cooperation agreement for the Irninjoki river was confirmed in 2017. As part of the cooperation agreement, we restored spawning beds suitable for grayling and trout at locations specified by the Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment in the autumn of 2017.

During the spring floods, an ecological flow of two cubic metres per second was drained in the Irninjoki river in accordance with the agreements. The monitoring period of the Irninjoki river agreement ended at the end of 2019. Because some of the criteria specified in the agreement were not met, the ecological flow during the spring floods will be 3.5 cubic metres per second for the next three years (2020–2022).

We participate in the reviving of migratory fish stocks in the Kemijoki river

We participate in a committee coordinated by the Regional Council of Lapland, the operation of which continued after the related agreement was updated at the end of 2017. In future, the migratory fish committee will focus on promoting the actions laid down in the action plan prepared during the first term and on updating the action plan.

Change application of the authority on stocking and fish stock management obligations

In March 2017, the Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment for Lapland (ELY Centre) filed a change application with the Regional State Administrative Agency for Northern Finland concerning stocking and fish stock management obligations with regard to the Kemijoki river. In October 2017, the ELY Centre filed a similar application concerning the Iijoki river. In addition to entirely new requirements, this involves additions to the current obligations. The Regional State Administrative Agency did not announce the applications during 2019.

Development of regulation on the areas affected by the Jumisko power plant is being investigated

The Lapland Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment initiated a regulation assessment in compliance with the Water Act on the areas affected by the Jumisko power plant in 2019. The authority arranged a kickoff meeting and an open survey on the development assessment. The ELY Centre will continue with the preparation of the assessment.

Emissions from thermal power decreasing

Our thermal power plants use wood-based fuels, solid recycled fuels, peat and coal as their primary fuels, and small amounts of natural gas and oil as auxiliary startup and backup fuels. The most significant environmental impact of thermal power production concerns the atmosphere. The power plants’ emissions into the air vary according to the fuels and the production volumes.

In 2019, carbon dioxide emissions from the production of electricity and heat amounted to 0.9 million tonnes. Since 2014, the CO2 emissions have been on the decrease, mainly due to the fact that less coal is used. In 2019, characteristic CO2 emissions from our electricity production were 44 g CO2/kWh.

Pohjolan Voima's specific carbon dioxide emissions from electricity production in 2015 - 2019

g CO2/kWh20152016201720182019
Specific CO2-emissions [g CO2/kWh]82.589.757.094,143,5
Electricity production [TWh]13.212.811.412.011,7

Pohjolan Voima's carbon dioxcide emissions from heat and electricity production in 2015-2019

20152016201720182019
CO2 emission, million tonnes1.661.721.071.640.95
Electricity production (TWh)13.212.811.412.011.7
 

Other emissions into the air also decreased from the previous year. Sulphur dioxide emissions amounted to 0.7 thousand tonnes, nitrogen oxide emissions to 1.9 thousand tonnes and particle emissions to 0.1 thousand tonnes.

Acidifying emissions from Pohjolan Voima's heat and electricity production in 2015 - 2019

1000 t20152016201720182019
Sulphur dioxide emissions [1000 t]1.71.51.01.40.7
Nitrogen oxide emissions [1000 t]3.83.22.42.61.9
Electricity production [TWh]13.212.811.412.011,7

Particle emissions from Pohjolan Voima's heat and electricity production in 2015 - 2019

tonnes20152016201720182019
Particle emissions [t]190110849976
Electricity production [TWh]13.212.811.412,011,7
 

As the result of the Industrial Emissions Directive, BAT conclusions made on the basis of the Best Available Techniques reference documents became binding. The BAT conclusions related to the reference document on best available techniques for large combustion plants (LCPs) were published on 17 August 2017. Power plants the main field of activity of which is energy production have for years from now to adjust their operations to the conclusions.

The first power plants prepared their applications for the review of their environmental permits in 2018, and the licensing work continued in 2019. The emission limits will be stricter for new environmental permits.

Utilisation of by-products at a good level

Our power plants generated a total of 121 thousand tonnes of fly ash and gypsum from the combustion gas cleaning processes and bottom ash from boilers. In 2019, 105% of the by-products were reused in earth construction, as forest fertilisers or in the construction industry. Any fly ash that is not immediately reused can be put into intermediate storage and reused at a later date. Hence, the utilisation rate is sometimes more than a hundred per cent.

Our goal is to reuse as much as possible of the by-products of thermal power production as raw materials to replace non-renewable natural resources, such as rock and stone.


Usage of by-products and reutilisation levels in 2015 - 2019

1000 t20152016201720182019
By-products [1000 t]184,977182,939127,819166,647120,849
Reutilisation level %155.1%94.7%125.3%86.4%105,3%

 

 

Nuclear production complied with environmental permits

Operations of the Olkiluoto nuclear power plant, which is owned by TVO, a joint venture partially owned by Pohjolan Voima, complied with legislation, environmental permits, the environmental management system and the energy efficiency system in 2019.

The most major environmental impact from the Olkiluoto nuclear power plant is local warming of the sea area close to the nuclear power plant. During the reporting year, the power plant produced 14.75 TWh of electricity, and the cooling water temperature remained within the environmental permit limits.

The environmental load caused by the Olkiluoto nuclear power plant was low. The operations were developed in accordance with the environmental permits and the requirements of the environmental management system. In accordance with the principle of continuous improvement, goals for the operations are specified in an environmental programme that is regularly monitored by a team consisting of expert from different fields. TVO has also signed an energy efficiency agreement. The savings target for the 2017–2025 agreement period is 150 GWh.

Environmental matters related to the nuclear power production, environmental indicators and the results of the environmental programme for 2019 are reported in more detail in TVO’s responsibility and environmental report. The data has been verified by a third party.

Read more at TVO's website.