Greenhouse gas emissions in the Helsinki metropolitan area had been declining, but according to the emission monitoring by HSY (Helsinki Region Environmental Services), emissions increased last year, rising nearly 10% compared to the previous year. The increase was primarily due to emissions from district heating production in all municipalities of the metropolitan area.
Emissions increased in all municipalities
Helsinki Region Environmental Services (HSY) annually calculates the greenhouse gas emissions in the Helsinki metropolitan area. In 2022, the region's greenhouse gas emissions increased nearly 10% compared to the previous year, totaling approximately 4.44 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2-eq).
Emissions increased in every municipality of the Helsinki metropolitan area: 11% in Helsinki, 6% in Espoo, 3% in Vantaa, and 5% in Kauniainen. The growth in emissions was attributed to the increase in emissions from district heating.
Increased use of coal and oil in district heating production
"The reason for the growth of greenhouse gas emissions in the Helsinki metropolitan area was the increase in emissions from district heating production. Greenhouse gas emissions from district heating production increased by 22% in the Helsinki metropolitan area compared to the previous year," says Tommi Fred, CEO of HSY.
The increase in emissions from heat production was a consequence of the cessation of natural gas imports from Russia when Russia launched an attack on Ukraine. The use of natural gas was replaced by coal and oil. The use of natural gas (GWh) in district heating production decreased by nearly 60% from the previous year, while the use of coal increased by 36% and oil by 46%.
The use of renewable fuels also slightly decreased. The proportion of renewable fuels was 29% in 2021 and 27% last year. This decrease was primarily due to a reduction in heat produced by heat pumps. The decrease in heat produced by heat pumps was mainly a result of high electricity prices.
"However, the greenhouse gas emissions from district heating production are expected to decrease in the near future as energy companies implement their own carbon neutrality programs and reduce the use of fossil fuels in district heating production," says Jari Rantsi, climate expert at HSY.
Slight decrease in electricity consumption
Residential electricity consumption decreased by 6% last year. The electricity consumption for heating remained at a similar level as the previous year. Factors contributing to the decrease in residential electricity consumption included high electricity prices and residents' energy-saving efforts. Emissions from electric heating and consumption electricity both decreased by 5%, driven by reduced consumption and a decrease in the national electricity emission factor.
HSY calculates the greenhouse gas emissions in the Helsinki metropolitan area based on local consumption. The calculations do not account for indirect emissions from consumption goods such as food or building products. Statistics from 2021 were used for calculating emissions from road traffic, and the calculations will be updated once the statistics for 2022 are available.
Greenhouse gas emissions in the Helsinki metropolitan area in 2022 (change compared to the previous year):
- Helsinki: 2.61 million tonnes of CO2-eq (+11%)
- Espoo: 0.88 million tonnes of CO2-eq (+6%)
- Vantaa: 0.91 million tonnes of CO2-eq (+3%)
- Kauniainen: 0.03 million tonnes of CO2-eq (+5%).
Greenhouse gas emissions in Helsinki metropolitan area increased in 2022 due to district heating production
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