Big solar and power-to-gas arrive in Finland


Finnish energy company EPV Energy is planning an 80-100 MW solar park in the town of Lapua, in the South Ostrobothnia region, according to a document published by the municipality.

The power plant will occupy 140ha of disused peatland and will replace peat energy production by the group’s EPV Bioturve Oy unit. Power generation from peat, which supplies around 4% of Finland’s electricity, is more polluting than coal-fired generation and produces more than twice as many CO2 emissions as natural gas.

The planned solar project will feature 463,680 panels and be connected to the Lapua-Sänkiaho 110 kV power line. It is not clear whether the project has any element of subsidy or will be intended to sell electricity on the spot market or under the terms of a private power purchase agreement signed with an energy off-taker.

The project would be the largest solar installation in Finland to date with the nation having 205 MW of solar capacity at the end of last year, according to International Renewable Energy Agency figures, most of it distributed, small scale installations.


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In a separate development, Finnish marine and energy company Wärtsilä and municipal energy company Vantaa Energy have announced plans to build the country’s first power-to-gas facility with the aim of producing ‘carbon-neutral’ synthetic biogas using carbon dioxide emissions and electricity generated at a waste-to-energy plant owned by the latter.

The companies will soon begin a feasibility study for the project. “Once feasible, the parties intend to continue joint development of the project towards a commercial scale pilot project,” said Wärtsilä. The synthetic biogas produced is intended to replace the use of natural gas in district heating and reduce Vantaa Energy’s carbon dioxide emissions.

The importance of linking power and gas networks to help hit EU climate change targets was recently highlighted in a study published by German electricity transmission system operator (TSO) TenneT and Dutch natural gas infrastructure and transport company Gasunie. The report emphasized the role power-to-gas could play in furthering the roll-out of renewable energy generation, including for seasonal supply and demand. The two TSOs are already jointly developing a 100 MW power-to-gas pilot plant in Lower Saxony, northwestern Germany.

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