When the climate objectives of cities were globally compared in 2015, Turku came up to sixth. Now the city hopes to become carbon neutral even more rapidly than before.
Turku, located on the southwest shore of Finland, is an active centre of an urban area of approximately 350 thousand residents. Once the capital of Finland, Turku is famous for its universities and knowledge-based economy. The Mayor of Turku Minna Arve (pictured below) does not find it impossible for Turku to be carbon neutral already in 2029, at the time of its 800th anniversary. So far, the objective has been the year 2040.
"We are currently in the process of renewing our climate and energy strategy. For instance, we invest into sustainable energy and smart mobility."
The biggest single climate investment already carried out in Turku is the new multifuel power plant for electricity, district heating and process steam. This plant replaced the old coal-fired power plant.
”The power plant can operate solely with biofuel. At the same time, we are developing smart decentralised energy production and storing, and improving energy efficiency comprehensively."
CLIMATE WORK AS PART OF THE CITY'S IDENTITY
Arve reminds that the best way to reach the goal is that all residents, businesses and communities commit themselves to ambitious climate action. She continues by saying that cities and their residents have a key role in battling climate change.
"Turku is, for instance, an agile city of just the right size and can take new technologies into use rapidly. We can function as a testing platform for
international cleantech businesses, for instance."
"The fact that we are committed to climate work is a key part of our identity. It also creates an image of Turku, acts as an attraction and creates vitality and wealth."
TOGETHER WITH OTHERS
According to Arve, one of the issues currently under consideration is how to take climate objectives into account in all city purchases.
"Turku is striving for its objectives together with others. We have taken actively part in Paris and Bonn climate conferences. We operate in the Union of Baltic Cities, in ICLEI and in the Climate Leadership Coalition that promotes the readiness of businesses to react to climate change.
Turku is also taking part in the Civitas Eccentric project that promotes smart and carbon neutral mobility.
"For instance, a renovated route for winter cycling has been opened and e-buses operate the central bus line. Digitality offers many new means to turn transport smarter."
According to the CEO of Turku Energia Timo Honkanen, the company has already for a long time developed its energy production towards carbon neutrality. Turku Energia is a company
owned by the city of Turku.
"The new power plant is of course important. However, we have also increased wind and hydropower. Our customers can also buy solar panels from us or rent shares of a solar power station."
In Turku, the district Skanssi functions as a testing area for new energy. A unique two-way heating network is being built there, making it possible to transmit surplus heat from the customer towards the network and store heat in the area.
"We also capture heat from waste water and use it for district heating and cooling."
The energy system is being decentralised in new ways. In the future, households will be more actively involved.
"Demand response, energy efficiency and different smart digital solutions will gain a more central role."
Turku Energia is already offering smartboxes for households to manage their energy consumption, such as by warming up the water heater automatically when the price of electricity is at its lowest.
"If we think solely about energy, Turku has the chance to become carbon neutral already in the next few years", Honkanen states.
Mr Timo Honkanen, CEO
Turku Energia Oy
Tel: +358 50 557 3133
Mr Jussi Vira, Director
City Strategy / Smart and Wise Turku
Tel: +358 50 486 7895