The annual report 2021

Efficient energy production – towards a cleaner and more sustainable world


2021 was a record year for Westenergy in many ways. The price of electricity increased substantially in the energy market throughout Europe in 2021. Furthermore, the COVID-19 pandemic continued to challenge companies and introduced uncertainty into operations. We took care of our important task in society in 2021, however, and we contributed towards a cleaner and more sustainable world.

Reliable energy production and waste management are important when the global situation is difficult.

We value our staff’s work during the challenging pandemic and their excellent performance during difficult times. The contribution of our employees has allowed us to develop the operations of our plant to a new level. We wish to thank each of our employees for their valuable work during the year.

The plant was in continuous operation for a longer period than before, and we were able to postpone the annual service stop to 2022. We also made records in energy production and the amount of waste utilised in the plant. The plant’s profitability improved, and we also succeeded in cutting costs. Furthermore, availability rate and efficiency were very high. This means that we were able to reach our goal of record energy production. We wish to thank the owner companies for their support and seamless cooperation. They have helped us reach new records in 2021.

The previous year, 2020, taught us a lot about working during an exceptional pandemic and enabled us to respond to changes in situations rapidly in 2021, even though the COVID-19 pandemic continued to bring uncertainty to our operations. In the worst phases of the pandemic, we had to take extreme measures to best support the health of our employees and their loved ones and to ensure the continued operation of our plant. We had to, for example, restrict encounters between employees working on different shifts and in different operations at the plant. We were luckily able to safeguard the health of our employees, and quarantines only caused a few absences. We have reinforced our back-up employee network with skilled deputies so that we can find people to temporarily replace employees who have fallen ill or have been quarantined. The pandemic forced us to postpone events and training courses, but thanks to remote connections and tools, we were able to keep in touch with each other.

Our goal is to become carbon negative by 2030.

We at Westenergy have a strong ambition in long-term strategy planning. At the moment, we are already planning our development into the 2030s. Our strategy work is connected to the EU’s proposed Fit-for-55 regulation aiming to reduce greenhouse emissions by 55 per cent by 2030 compared to 1990. This goal is also supported by the EnergySampo CCU project, which will, in the future, allow utilisation of the carbon dioxide generated at Westenergy’s plant in the production of traffic fuel. Westenergy is planning to construct a facility for the production of synthetic methane in this project.

Decisions and regulations play a crucial role in the energy, waste and environmental sector. The operators in the field depend on regulation, which largely guides the direction of development in the sector. The Green Deal for waste management creates opportunities to make an impact, directs our attention to the future and helps companies reach climate and circular economy goals. The amendments of the Finnish Waste Act also help Westenergy meet the goals related to the circular economy. Requirements concerning separate collection, amongst other things, have become stricter with the goal of increasing recycling in general.

Recycling is not opposed to the utilisation of energy; instead, these two support each other.

As recycling increases, the amount of reject, or material unsuitable for recycling, generated at recycling facilities will increase as well. Utilising such materials is in line with the idea of the circular economy.

The price of energy used to be stable and rather simple to forecast. Confidence in the price of energy has, however, suffered from the radical market changes in 2021. This, on the other hand, brings many kinds of challenges to the energy sector, since increased uncertainty makes investing more challenging as well. We produced, however, 56 per cent of the district heat of Vaasan Sähkö during the year. We wish to thank Vaasan Sähkö for successful cooperation.

Going forward, the crisis in Ukraine will increase uncertainty in the energy market, which may be reflected as fluctuations in the price of energy. On the other hand, the crisis may add pressure to accelerate the transition towards renewable energy. The crisis has no immediate impact on Westenergy’s operations, but we will investigate future long-term impacts on our operations. We are prepared for changes. We will continue to work hard to reach our climate and circular economy goals. We wish to contribute to the progress of the waste energy sector towards more environmentally sustainable solutions. Developing the sector requires changes and, in particular, investments in the future. We will continue our ambitious work to reach our circular economy and climate goals in 2022.

Olli Alhoniemi
Managing Director