The City of Turku has gone to great lengths to reach its ambitious climate goals. However, we all need to contribute to these efforts. Sustainable development can also bring in new investments, jobs and prosperity.

Did you know that?

  • Ice hockey is played ecologically in Turku. The cooling energy is recovered in Impivaara and Varissuo and utilised in warming the premises.
  • Thanks to its dense city centre, Turku is one of the leading pedestrian cities in Finland.
  • Bus line 1 is now operated by electric buses.
  • The city ferry Föri will gain electric motors in the spring.

Turku intends to be carbon neutral by 2040. In an international assessment that compared the climate goals of different cities, Turku ranked sixth. Its climate measures also led to Turku being the only city in Finland to be invited to the Cities & Regions Pavilion of the Transformative Actions Programme that was held in connection with the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris.

Development Manager Risto Veivo says that the actions Turku has taken to reach this goal include a major restructuring of the energy system that makes it possible to efficiently utilise new sources of energy.

‘Renewable energy is set to overtake fossil energy sources in the Turku region’s energy system later this year, once the multi-fuel power plant in Naantali is put into service. Renewable energy, i.e. wood chips from nearby areas, will account for roughly 40 per cent of the plant’s energy production in the start-up phase.’

Energy efficiency and cleaner waters

Turku has taken important steps even before this.

The Kakola waste water treatment plant has brought a significant reduction in the amount of phosphorus and suspended solids that cause eutrophication in the Archipelago Sea. The plant also produces district heating and cooling in a very energy-efficient manner, and the sewage sludge is used to produce biogas.

The Luolavuori pellet-fired district heating plant has reduced the use of oil in the backup and peak production of district heating.

Turku Energia has also invested in solar energy, for example, in addition to expanding its ownerships in the production of wind power and renewable hydropower.

Trends in greenhouse gas emissions in Turku. Emissions in total per resident, excl. industry.

Veivo counts that there are currently dozens of different climate projects underway.

‘Among other things, we are boosting the energy efficiency of the city’s properties and improving their energy control. We are also working in cooperation with Sitra, for example, in order to develop the circular economy. A circular economy is a model where materials circulate and added value is created for products through services and intelligence.’

Cooperation with companies also plays a key role.

‘For example, companies in the Skanssi district are involved in the development of a new district heating network that will make it possible to increase the use of renewable energy sources.’

The Vancouver of Finland?

Turku is a member of the Climate Leadership Council (CLC). The Council wants to promote the preparedness of the Finnish business sector to respond to the threats of climate change. It also encourages companies to invest in clean technology. Today, the global market for cleantech may be as much as €2,000 billion.

Jouni Keronen, Executive Director of CLC, thinks that Turku has a good chance of establishing a profile for itself as a city of a carbon neutral maritime industry.

Perhaps Turku could even follow the steps of Vancouver, Canada, and become a pilot city for clean technology.

‘Everyone can contribute with their choices, for example in traffic, housing and food. If the residents of Turku began taking climate actions as a large group, it would also attract interest globally. It could also bring in new innovations and investments to Turku,’ ponders Keronen.

Text and image: Matti Välimäki