The energy sector changed significantly in 2022. The war in Ukraine caused instability in the global situation and affected, for instance, the interest rates and energy market throughout Europe. The instability in the global situation had unavoidably an effect also in Westenergy’s operation by affect-ing, for instance, the energy prices and availability of chemicals and spare parts. With thorough plan-ning and preparation, we were, however, able to ensure the efficient operation of the company in a challenging situation.
Changes in the global situation have speeded up the green transition in Europe. Countries aim at de-taching themselves from the dependence on fossil fuels faster than expected, and investments with-in sustainable energy production made quick progress last year. The same trend is visible at Westenergy – we have identified challenges and possibilities in the operational environment and have outlined Westenergy’s direction of development in our strategy work. Our vision is that Westenergy’s plant will represent carbon-neutral energy production by 2030.
Last year our vision on carbon-neutrality took one step further as the EnergySampo CCU con-sortium was founded. The project aims at utilising the carbon dioxide in the flue gases of Westener-gy’s WtE plant in the production of synthetic methane (LSNG). Last year we started the process of assessing the environmental impacts of the methane production plant. Our aim is that the project is granted public funding this year and we are, thus, able to make the investment decision. Ener-gySampo CCU is a consortium that has brought many export companies on our operation area to-gether. The project demonstrates what can be achieved when different companies work together and open-mindedly start promoting industrial-scale climate solutions.
Westenergy operates between waste management and the energy sector, and both sectors are developing at a fast pace. In addition, a lot of regulation affecting both sectors is changing rapidly as well. When changes in the operational environment and regulation are quick and unpredictable, it becomes difficult to make investments and develop operations. We hope, therefore, that decision-makers would help create an operational environment that would encourage companies to make investments that could reduce carbon footprint in the home country and at the same time, create the prerequisites for Finnish export companies to maximise their carbon handprint. This would help im-prove the employment rate and well-being in Finland. Our sectors need predictability in order to in-vest. Green Deal that has been prepared for a long time, could be the tool to achieve this.
Westenergy’s owner basis widened earlier this year as Ekorosk became one of Westenergy’s shareholders. I’m very happy that after negotiations at the end of last year, Ekorosk joined our circu-lar economy community. Our operation area is now more united, and the cost-efficient and sustain-able service regarding unrecyclable municipal waste can now be offered also to people living in Ekorosk’s operation area.
Westenergy has now seven municipal waste management companies as shareholders and refines the unrecyclable municipal waste of some 670 000 people into energy and renewable materials.
Regarding the production of energy, year 2022 was a positive period. Westenergy produced ap-proximately 54 percent of Vaasan Sähkö’s district heating and 90 gigawatt hours of electricity which covers the need of some 4 500 electrically heated houses. In the summer, the excess thermal energy produced in Westenergy’s plant was stored in Vaasan Sähkö’s energy storage, and in the fall, the energy was unloaded to the district heating network. This helps in evening out the difference be-tween energy production and demand.
I want to thank all our shareholders and Vaasan Sähkö for good co-operation. Together we are building a cleaner and more sustainable future.
Last year the usability rate of Westenergy’s plant was very high, 100 percent. This means that the plant was in operation throughout the year apart from the service stop in March.
The service stop proceeded so well that we were able to start the production ahead of schedule.
The plant is op-erated, maintained, and repaired systematically, and this has contributed to the high usability rate.
No occupational accidents have taken place at Westenergy for two and a half years, and the work for improving the safety culture continues still. I want to thank our capable staff for their valuable work for achieving the goals.
The new waste storage, truck scale, incoming road, and a modern access control system were put into operation in 2022.
The new traffic arrangements have clarified the traffic and improved safety in the area.
Heavy traffic is now be separated better, and the new facilities for storing the waste temporarily guarantee a modern and clean way for handling waste.
We aim at developing our operations continuously with the help of our quality, environment, and health & safety policy. We work for securing sustainable waste management and energy production on our operation area. We want to contribute to improving the sustainability of the waste-to-energy sector and continue to work for achieving these goals also in 2023.
Managing Director, Westenergy