The annual report 2021


Westenergy’s goal is to transition to carbon-neutral energy production by 2030. We also want to strengthen our pioneer position in the utilisation of materials and to promote biogas-based logistics. All three of our visions strongly support one another.

Carbon-neutral energy production by 2030

The management of overall emissions and achieving carbon neutrality require numerous solutions over a long period of time. We want to participate actively in the development of carbon capture technology, which will, in one form or another, be a permanent part of carbon neutral development in the future. Our vision is to create a locally rational value chain that allows Finnish operators to develop their activities and us all to create emission benefits together. In a project funded by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, we implemented a survey with AFRY to get an idea of the technologies and opportunities related to carbon capture and utilisation. We found it important to determine the scale at which the capture of carbon dioxide is possible and how this can be done using technology suitable for a waste-to-energy plant. Carbon dioxide capture and utilisation technologies have developed extremely fast at both the national and the international level. Projects related to carbon capture receive funds and the development of technology gains attention, which has, in part, increased our certainty that the project is necessary.

Actions aimed at carbon-neutral energy production will continue throughout the 2020s.

We try to find the carbon capture technologies best suited for our operations by means of simulations, for example. We also investigate solutions for the storage and utilisation of carbon dioxide and try to establish contacts with pioneers specialising in carbon capture. Furthermore, we have started analysing our carbon footprint in order to reach our goal of carbon neutral energy production. The purpose of the analysis is to map all the actions affecting the carbon footprint in the plant’s processes. Seamless cooperation between the owner companies and the various operators is required for the project to succeed. This analysis will continue in 2022.

In the future, carbon neutral operations will be promoted by the EnergySampo CCU project, among other things. This project aims at the promotion of carbon neutral development in Finland in line with the EU’s Fit-for-55 goals. CCU stands for carbon capture and utilisation. The next goal in this project is to plan a synthetic methane production facility for Westenergy’s plant in Mustasaari. Synthetic methane will be used for the production of traffic fuel. The plant will be recycling carbon dioxide from the flue gases generated at Westenergy’s plant and producing hydrogen with the help of electrolysis. In the methanisation process, carbon dioxide and hydrogen are combined to produce synthetic methane that can be used in the production of fuel. Synthetic gas fuels can be used to replace fossil fuels in the future. We wish to participate in the promotion of this carbon neutral development in energy production.

Pioneer in the utilisation of materials

Further development of the circular economy is one of our company’s goals. We have already executed several circular economy projects, but we want to ensure that our value chains meet the needs of the society in the future, too.

Efficient utilisation of materials means that we try to find solutions for utilising the end products generated in the plant’s processes.

At the moment, we are able to fully utilise the bottom ash. Our next goal is to investigate how flue gas residue and boiler ash could be utilised in the future. We aim at the utilisation of all materials generated in the plant’s operations. The fact that we are producing more and more energy from approximately the same amount of waste is also an indicator of improved material efficiency. This means that the plant’s efficiency is constantly improving. As more recycling methods become available, we want to prepare to receive more and more kinds of materials in the future.

Biogas-based logistics

We want to promote the production of biogas, develop its distribution network and increase its use in the area where we operate.

In the future, we also want to ensure that the logistics related to our operations utilise biogas instead of fossil fuels.

Biogas can also be used as auxiliary fuel in Westenergy’s plant. We have been active participants in a research project led by the University of Vaasa, surveying the opportunities to utilise biogas in Ostrobothia. This project started in 2020, and it will continue in 2022. This research project has given us lots of information on how to utilise biogas more and more in our operations in the future.

Case interview:

Green Deal: supporting long-term planning in the waste-to-energy sector

The Green Deal is an energy and waste sector agreement currently in the planning and preparation phase. If executed, it would improve the stability of regulation in the field. The purpose is to create a voluntary agreement for energy and waste sector companies, sector organisations and the Ministry of the Environment to jointly commit themselves to specific goals related to, for instance, the recycling rate, the emission limits of waste-to-energy plants, and material efficiency. This would be a long-term agreement determining the regulation of the field for approximately ten years. The Green Deal would mainly affect circular economy companies, but on the other hand, its impacts would be reflected in the operations of the entire value chain.

The waste-to-energy sector is subject to lots of regulation that is constantly changing.

This causes challenges to the long-term planning of companies in the field. Long-term development of operations and planning of future investments are challenging if the applicable regulations may change rapidly. The Green Deal seeks to resolve some of these challenges and introduce stability to the operation of the sector.

We at Westenergy have already started working on measures that the agreement, if executed, would enable. We have been expanding our strategic planning for several years already. Our key goal is to transition to carbon-neutral energy production by 2030 and to start carbon capture as a part of the plant’s operations.

We have already prepared for the Green Deal by drawing up an action programme.

We hope that the agreement will be executed so that the actions required by it can be started in the sector.

Westenergy’s Information Engineer Juha Ripatti takes care of many connections related to the Green Deal at Westenergy. He is responsible for communications on the matter within the company and for keeping our employees updated about the progress of planning. Preparations related to the Green Deal are an important part of his duties at Westenergy.

We and many other companies in the sector have ambitious goals related to cleaner energy production. Big goals require significant investments, however, and making such investments is challenging if operations have to be planned as cycles of a few years. Agreements providing a long-term perspective and thereby enabling the testing of different new solutions are important for our operations.



All the employees take part in developing occupational health and safety

We aim to provide a safe and comfortable working environment for all our employees. There were no occupational accidents in 2021, meaning that we reached our goal in terms of occupational safety. Due to the COVID-19 restrictions, we had to postpone some safety training courses, but we will attempt to organise training as possible. We have always emphasised employee participation in the development of safety. We have achieved continuous progress in our operations through the use of safety observations in particular. In 2021, however, we wanted to further develop the observation culture in our company and shifted the focus in safety observations from quantity to quality. As a result, the number of safety observations was lower than in the previous year, but the observations were more comprehensive than before.

In 2021, 66 safety observations were made to improve occupational safety.

We introduced the spearhead strategy in safety observations. In what follows, we will focus on the safety observations of one sector of operations each year and attempt to find solutions for the issues observed. In 2021, we chose waste deliveries and the induction training of drivers as the sector to observe. We conducted a one-week intensive observation period in the tipping hall with a safety specialist. The results of the observation gave us valuable information that we will be able to utilise to further develop the safety of waste receiving. New traffic routes in the plant area and the new storage area also resulted in new safety and risk management duties.

  • Accidents
  • Sickness absence percentage
  • Safety observations


Training and education of the staff is supported

We want to support the professional development of our employees as best as we can. We draw up personal training plans in cooperation with each employee. The plan allows us to determine the areas in which the employees want to deepen their skills further. Furthermore, annual development discussions help support the mapping of training needs. During the year, the biggest challenges were related to the organising of training because of the detailed COVID-19 measures. The health of our employee comes first, so we tried to take care of skills development within the limits imposed by the situation.

We organised remote training and webinars in 2021.

Developing the work atmosphere was challenging at times due to the COVID-19 restrictions. Meeting colleagues and catching up was not possible in the same way it was before the pandemic. We were, luckily, able to organise a shared sports day in May when the COVID-19 infection rate was lower. We spent time outdoors playing disc golf while observing the COVID-19 restrictions and recommendations. We also made improvements to the plant’s gym during the year by adding some new equipment in order to motivate our employees to take care of their well-being.

Employees participated in approximately 80 training days in 2021.

Case interview

Project employee Camille Dubost: Working flexibly across language barriers

I first heard of Westenergy during my Erasmus exchange year. I was an exchange student at Vaasa University of Applied Sciences in 2018, and we visited Westenergy’s plant as a part of my studies. Finland made a very positive impression on me already during the exchange period. I then returned to France and finished my engineering studies at the University of Technology of Troyes. My studies included a mandatory training period abroad. I immediately thought of Westenergy, since I wanted to work with sustainable development in the future. I decided to apply to Westenergy and was eventually selected.

I expected working in a Finnish company to be more challenging than it actually was. All the documents are in Finnish, but I felt that translators or my colleagues were always ready to help me.

I was surprised by how well everyone spoke English!

I did not feel at all like an outsider, and I was always included in discussions. I also learnt a lot more about the Finnish language and the Finnish culture. I wanted to make the most out of the opportunity of working in a company where my native language is not spoken. I had to go outside my comfort zone, which improved my ability to adjust to new situations.

Since I started working during the COVID-19 restrictions, Westenergy gave me my first experience of remote work. In the beginning, I found it difficult to draw up a clear schedule for the workdays, as I was working from home. I also felt a bit lonely at first and missed talking to my new colleagues. I noticed the importance of interaction with colleagues also from the motivational perspective. Once I got past these initial challenges, I really started to enjoy my duties.

I got to work with many kinds of themes, such as solutions for the processing of PVC plastic waste and shareholder analysis. I also updated Westenergy’s website and developed the company’s visibility in social media. These duties have developed my creativity, independence, punctuality and decision-making skills, among other things. Considering that I have studied engineering, some duties were rather new and different for me. I have learnt to create content that reaches people and speaks to them. I have noticed that producing social media content is not quite as easy as you might expect.

Working at Westenergy has been an enlightening experience.

Ever since I was a teenager, I always knew that I wanted to participate in changing society’s development into a more environmentally friendly direction.

I have now understood what working for our shared planet really means. I know that this is something I want to do in the future, as well. Working at Westenergy has also made me feel more like a citizen of Europe. Starting to work outside your home country takes courage, but you learn to broaden your horizons in return. I feel more open, goal-oriented and determined than before. I really want to make a contribution towards the development of a cleaner and more sustainable world. I am truly grateful for all the experience I gained from working at Westenergy.


Environmental responsibility is at the heart of company operations

2021 was very successful from the perspective of the environment. In particular,

there was only one incidence of environmental disturbance during the year.

The successful result was based on the flue gas scrubber, the newest addition to our flue gas cleaning equipment. The scrubber turned out to be very necessary in the plant’s operations.

The COVID-19 pandemic had no significant impact on our environmental operations. We continued to work fluently, albeit using different work methods. There were no issues with the deliveries of chemicals in 2021, and the availability of chemicals was good. Ensuring availability has been emphasised since the beginning of the pandemic. If we run out of a specific chemical needed in flue gas scrubbing, for example, this might cause extensive issues for the plant.

Ensuring the availability of chemicals is therefore a significant factor of preparedness during the pandemic.

We received an environmental permit for our new storage area in spring 2021. The construction of the area has already created new work, and the new storage area will continue to give more work in the future, as well. The project was supervised according to the plans while taking environmental factors into account. The waste-based construction material used in the project, namely recycled crushed concrete from Stormossen, required some preliminary work. The plans related to the project and the use of recycled material have been approved by the Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment. Waste quality inspections will also be transferred to the storage area. We have been planning and developing this change alongside the project. We also updated our waste water contract with Stormossen due to the requirements arising from the new area. The contract was used as the basis for designing a sampling system to analyse the water quality in the area. The project is progressing in good cooperation between the parties.

We have filed an environmental permit application regarding the BAT for energy recovery of waste (Best Available Technology). New emission limits based on the BAT conclusions for energy recovery of waste will become applicable by the end of 2023. We have already prepared for the change by acquiring the flue gas scrubber, which has allowed us to already reach the new, stricter emission limits.

In addition to monitoring air emissions, various other measurements are carried out during the year to ensure that we operate according to environmental regulations. The condensate that is formed in the flue gas scrubber, and the surface and ground water in the area are analysed regularly. We participate in Vaasa’s air quality monitoring programme, and the impacts of the air emissions of the plant are analysed with the help of moss ball research. Additionally, the occurrence of an endangered species of a lichen found in the nearby nature reserve is monitored regularly by an external observer.

The following diagrams show the results of the continuous measurements in 2021.

Results of one-off measurements in 2021