Levi, the largest winter holiday resort in Finland, is heated with energy from local wood. Levi is situated in Lapland, some 150 kilometers north of the Arctic Circle, and has around 700 000 visitors annually. Levi is also well-known for being the start of the annual alpine skiing world cup in the middle of November.
“In circumstances where temperatures often hit below -20° C, we are proud to supply local, environmentally sound and reliable fuel to guarantee tourists warm hotels and cottages after they have spent refreshing moments in the outdoors” says Kyösti Rannila, Procurement Manager of Adven Oy, the company which owns and operates the local district heating plant and network which were built 10 years ago to supply the needs of the fast-growing and popular winter holiday resort.
Excluding some smaller cottages, practically the entire resort, which includes numerous hotels, restaurants, shops and a spa, is heated with wood energy from Adven´s district heating plant. The plant produces approximately 25 000 MWh energy annually, equivalent to the heating needs of about 1 500 single-family houses.
The Finnish State Forest Enterprise, Metsähallitus, is in charge of the supply of wood chips. The energy wood is procured alongside more valuable assortments. “We optimize the use of wood by taking the most valuable parts, such as construction and pulp wood assortments, for board and paper production,” says Samuli Myllymäki, Account Manager in Metsähallitus. “The lowest qualities are turned into woodchips for energy. Thus, the demand for energy wood supports the efficient use of local resources.”
Not only economic efficiency but also environmental aspects are thoroughly taken into consideration when procuring wood. “The heating wood is obtained from the vicinity of the plant. This not only ensures very short transport distances, minimizing the environmental impact, but also provides work for local contractors and employees,” explains Mr. Myllymäki.
As a state forest management organization, Metsähallitus applies the national legislation’s high requirements for sustainable and multifunctional forest management. Valuable biotopes are left standing, protecting biodiversity, harvesting is accomplished in ways which do not present a risk for nutrient flow, etc. Metsähallitus thereby ensures that environmental concerns are taken into account also on sites which supply biomass for energy.
Metsähallitus sells close to six million m3 of wood annually. At the moment under five per cent of this is biomass for energy, but this could be moderately increased. Furthermore, only a bit more than a half of the annual growth of the region´s commercially used state forests is currently utilized for wood harvesting.
In order to decrease the dependence on the fossil fuels, the Finnish government has set explicit targets to increase the role of renewable energy. The above is an example of how biomass for bioenergy can be supplied from local sources to support the national targets.