If Helsinki lives up to its promise of becoming coal-free, these stacks of coal in Hanasaari may disappear from the landscape.Massive stacks of coal stand in Hanasaari, Helsinki, providing a stark contrast to the aspirations of Finland to establish itself as a trailblazer in clean technology.

The stacks may disappear in the future, however, if the Finnish capital lives up to its promise. An objective approved by the City Council in 2010 stipulates that Helsinki become coal-free by the year 2050.

In addition, Helsinki has committed to considerably increasing the use of renewable resources in the production of heat and electricity. Next year, the Helsinki City Council will decide how Helsingin Energia generates its heat and electricity in the decades to come.

Much depends on money. If policy-makers are not prepared to make significant investments, their dream of a coal-free Helsinki will remain elusive. On the other hand, if they loosen the purse strings, the revenues from the municipal utility will dwindle.

Jyri Hänninen – HS
Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Photo: Markus Jokela / HS