Turku is moving toward its ambitious goal of carbon neutrality in 2029. Much has happened in
the energy sector in a short time. Now the city is urging all residents and businesses to act on
behalf of the climate in their day-to-day lives.
Risto Veivo, Climate Director for
the City of Turku, Finland says
that the city's greenhouse
gas emissions have dropped
to less than half of the 1990 level.
“In our energy production we will
soon get completely rid of fossil
energy. Emissions from transport,
for example, have also declined
The city has also updated its forest
plan. It is currently setting up a
regional compensation system. Both
are aimed at reinforcing carbon sinks
and diversity in nature and increasing
the recreational use of forests.
After 2029 Turku hopes to be
"Then our emissions will have fallen
below our ability to bind carbon from
the atmosphere and we will be able
to produce renewable energy above
our own needs."
Energy sector will soon be carbon-neutral
Timo Honkanen, the CEO of Turku
Energia, says that 90% of electricity
in Turku and 80% of its heat is
produced in a carbon-neutral
manner already now.
"A year from now we will be no longer
be using any coal in the production of
district heat", he observes.
The change has been great and fast.
Still at the beginning of the new
millennium, 100% was the number
used with reference to the share of
fossil energy in the production of heat.
Turku Energia trusts versatility in
methods of production.
"We have not put all of our eggs in
the same basket. We have adopted
many kinds of green energy solutions
and our investments have been
spread over many years. At the same
time, risks have also shrunk."
Making use of waste materials and
The Naantali combined heat and
power (CHP) plant and the Kakola heat
pumps are owned by Turun Seudun
Energiantuotanto Oy (TSE).
Giving up coal has been made easier
by the CHP plant in Naantali, which
produces heat and electricity from
wood chips, a by-product of the
"This year we will also open a line
for receiving wood and cardboard
which is no longer suitable for
recycling. Next year a heat pump will
be introduced to produce heat out of
steam from a process that had not
previously been utilised."
In Turku, surplus heat is used at the
Kakola wastewater treatment plant,
where heat energy is recovered from
wastewater. Heat pumps are used
to turn it into district heating and
district cooling. The Turku region
already produces 30% of its district
heating using methods that do not
Electricity is also procured from
domestic and foreign hydropower
plants, for example, and from Finnish
wind power plants. In addition, solar
panels have been placed on roofs in
Turku at an increasing pace.
"Growth in wind power has been
especially strong. Turku Energia
is involved as an owner in many
wind parks around the country".
For the future Turku Energia’s plans
also include a geothermal plant which
extracts heat from the earth's crust.
A good life with 1.5 degrees
However, Turku will not achieve its
goals on emissions only by making
changes in energy production, or
through actions taken by the City
Group. Businesses and residents
will also be needed in the green
Turku has launched its 1.5-degree life
campaign, encouraging everyone to
make climate-friendly choices.
Expert Lotte Suveri observes that a climate-friendly life is not a life
of renunciation and misery; it also
brings health and well-being into our
lives, while creating new business
activities in the best of cases.
"In Turku, day-to-day action on
behalf of the climate can involve
riding one of the new electric buses,
for example. The number of electric
buses in the city has multiplied this
year. A third of the kilometres driven
by public transport are powered by
electricity", Suveri says.
Food served at Turku schools
has been modified to be more
environmentally friendly by replacing
beef with chicken and vegetable
protein. People in the city are also
encouraged to favour domestic fish,
reduce food waste, and to recycle
biowaste, for example.
Also taking part in the campaign
are Turku's libraries – circular
economy veterans. In addition to
traditional books, and the even more
environmentally friendly e-materials,
libraries also have all manner of other
useful things, such as, 3D printers, for
example, or sewing machines, and
snow shovels. Consumption can be
reduced by favouring borrowing.
If the goal of the Paris Agreement
– stopping global warming at 1.5
degrees – is reached, it is likely that
snow shovels will continue to be
needed in Turku in the winter.
Toward a circular economy
A Circular Economy Roadmap has
recently been completed in Turku –
the first city-level plan in Finland for
a transition to a circular economy.
"The circular economy is a way to
achieve low-carbon consumption and to
avoid wasting natural resources. At the
same time, it creates completely new
kinds of innovations, networks, work,
and opportunities", Risto Veivo says.
During the production of the roadmap,
it emerged that the Turku area already
has 300 different kinds of businesses
operating in the circular economy field.
They offer, for example, different kinds
of rental or maintenance services, they
utilise recycled materials, or seek
ways to reduce food waste.
According to Veivo, the circular
economy has great potential in
industry, for example:
"An oil refinery in the Turku area is
shutting down and it will be replaced
by the Green Industry Park, with
business activities focusing on a
circular economy.” The chemistry
departments of the universities
of Turku are among the active
developers in the field."
The city, for its part, seeks to give visibility to the circular economy and the opportunities that it offers.
"The circular economy and sustainable development are also emphasised in the city's own procurements", Veivo observes.
The City of Turku
T: +358 50 5590 417