Assets - Asset Owners in Finland


Water asset

Water bodies cover about 10% of the country’s territory and provide essential recreational value for the country. The volume of fresh water reserves is 21 000 m3 per person per year. When it comes to the Finnish water supply system, ground water reserves play a more important role compared to surface waters. Ground water share of total water abstraction in Finland is 65%. The main reasons of groundwater use are high water quality, good availability and security of supply. Water supply and wastewater treatment are available for 90% and 81% of the population, respectively, provided by public authorities. The rest of the population also has access to water services, but not from public water services providers. The tap water is potable all through Finland.

There are three levels of stakeholders. At the base are the customers; households, industry, different public institutions and other possible consumers. The most water intensive Finnish industry is pulp and paper production. However, frequently, paper mills have separate water supply and wastewater treatment systems arranged by private companies. On the operational level, there is a difference between Finnish towns and the countryside. In the cities, municipalities own and provide water services. The public sector is in charge of regulation, investments, funding control, maintenance, operation and management.

The municipalities are responsible for water services only in population centers and not outside of them. As a rule, water supply and wastewater treatment are carried out by municipally owned water enterprises. Private water companies are not common in Finland. However, there are opportunities according to the Finnish regulations to outsource some services to private companies. Storm water and melt water collection and treatment is also the responsibility of municipal companies. Most storm water is handled via separate pipelines. This decreases the amount of water coming to wastewater treatment facility. In sparsely populated rural areas, water service companies belong to voluntary establishments: households or co-operatives. In detached houses, it is common to drill water wells or boreholes.

The starting point of water supply is very different in built-up areas and in sparsely populated rural areas. In this sense, sparsely populated area means those outside the municipal water supply and sewerage system. The law requires such single household areas to manage their wastewater by themselves. They are expected to install wastewater treatment systems bearing the Conformité Européenne (CE) mark.

When it comes to co-operatives, there can be two sources of water supply: a) municipal water network use; b) own water source use. In both cases, the co-operatives have to manage related investments, operation and maintenance costs of their water systems. The major difference is that with option a) they only need to take care of network and pumping stations, whereas in option b) they should also consider water intake and treatment measures. As for wastewater treatment, co- operatives can either rely on municipal sewerage systems or their own wastewater treatment solutions. In general, co-operatives, as community-based systems allow good water resource management with lower costs to individual water users. When uniting into a co-operative, investment and maintenance costs become lower in comparison to personal in situ water systems. Co-operatives may also engage contractors to perform wastewater treatment and maintenance. This solution enables the fulfilment of strict local and EU legal requirements of water quality and supply.

Water asset utilization for renewable energy generation


Hydropower technology has been a conventional electricity conversion method for long time. In Finland, the installed amount of hydropower plants is more than 220, having power capacity of 3100 MW. The scale of hydropower varies from hundreds of kilowatts to tens of megawatts. In the area of EU, small-scale hydropower comprises plants having nominal output less than 10 MW, whilst large-scale plants exceed the limit of 10 MW.

Heat recovery utilization

Thermal energy is utilized via heat recovery from wastewater to heat up building spaces at wastewater treatment plants in Finland. In Lapua, a 120 kW heat pump recovers energy from wastewater for heating utilization. The investment of 45 000 euros has a payback period of 2-3 years. Similarly, a heat pump system is used for space heating at a wastewater treatment plant in Vaasa and Helsinki. In Savonlinna, at wastewater treatment plant that utilizes accelerating composting unit to produce compost has also heat recovery embedded in the technological scheme.

Biogas production from the wastewater sludge
In Finland, in 2011, there were around twenty municipal and industrial anaerobic digestion facilities with biogas production from wastewater sludge. The total energy production through the biogas utilization was about 145 GWh. One of the plants that treats wastewater sludge and produces biogas is located in Vampula. The biogas production plant uses municipal sludge and organic waste as a feedstock for anaerobic digestion. As a result, 8 000 MWh of power and 9 000 MWh of heat is produced on an annual basis. Other biogas production plants based on wastewater treatment facilities are situated in Espoo and Turku. In Turku, biogas is utilized with production of heat and power. The amount of generated power is 4 MW. The heat is used in district heating. In Jyväskylä, electricity is produced after anaerobic digestion process from biogas by using a 157 kW motor. Produced electricity is sent to compressors supplying air for aeration process. Similarly, in Tampere, produced biogas is converted into electricity and thermal energy. Produced electricity, afterwards, is used as additional energy at the wastewater treatment plant. By 2015, 0,2 TWh of energy can be potentially produced via utilization of sewage sludge in anaerobic digestion in Finland. In Kemi wastewater treatment plant, there was an estimation work done on potential energy utilization contained in wastewater. The plant consumes about 835 000

kWh of electricity and 775 000 kWh of heat on an annual basis. By implementing anaerobic digestion, one fourth of electricity needs and around half of heat demand can be covered. In connection with this, corresponding reduction of CO2 is also possible. The potential emissions reduction constitutes one third of CO 2 emissions in 2012.

Renewable energy

Renewable energy includes solar, wind, water, bioenergy, geothermal heat and energy captured from the movement of waves and the tide. Bioenergy covers wood-based fuels, field biomasses, biogas and biodegradable part of recycled fuels. The production of wave and tidal energy is not profitable in Finland with current technology.

The use of renewable energy depends on Finland’s own energy and climate policies and also EU decisions and directives, which Finland has to consider in its energy policies. Finland aims to increase the use of renewable energy from the current levels. The National Energy and Climate Strategy was updated in 2016.

Finland is among the leading EU countries in the use of renewable energy with Sweden, Latvia and Austria. In Sweden and Austria, water power accounts for a substantial part of the production of renewable energy. In Finland, the focus is clearly on wood and biobased, recycled fuels. In 2015, renewable energy accounted for 454.6 PJ (35 %) of total energy consumption. Energy consumption in Finland in 2015 was 1,306,3 petajoule (PJ), which was 3.2 per cent less than in 2014.