Questions and answers

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Why does HKL use electricity generated using renewable energy sources?

Electricity production using wind and hydropower does not generate carbon dioxide emissions or waste. Water and wind are also renewable energy sources, the capacities of which can be further increased.

The strategic goal in HKL’s objective programme for 2010–2015 is for HKL’s rail traffic to remain the environmentally friendliest means of transport in the region. In accordance with the objective programme, HKL is committed to improving energy efficiency in its transport services as well as at its premises.

HKL’s operations emphasize the assessment of environmental impacts and the continuous development of environmental management. In 2013, HKL began the preparation of an activity management system. The activity management system covers the management of quality, the environment, and occupational health and safety. The activity management system will be certified by 2015.

Is hydropower harmful to the environment?

Hydropower is a renewable and globally climate-friendly form of energy production, which does not generate direct carbon dioxide emissions.

However, hydropower production does result in local harmful impacts to water systems, which have to do with changes in their natural state, such as the construction of artificial lakes and the disruption of the natural travel routes of fish. However, the passage of migratory fish can be ensured with the use of fish ladders constructed in connection with hydropower plants.

Hydropower has significant potential in the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions.

Hydropower production can be easily and quickly adjusted, which is why it is used especially in load-following. In other words, hydropower production is increased during periods of peak consumption and reduced during periods of low consumption. Load-following hydropower plants can also be used to replace load-following coal plants that cause carbon dioxide emissions. Hydropower generation can also be easily increased by expanding the capacity of existing hydropower plants.

According to lifecycle models, a hydropower plant operating in cold climate generates 15 g/kWh of indirect carbon dioxide emissions. The carbon dioxide emissions generated by hydropower are some 50 times lower than the emissions generated by alternative energy production methods that utilise fossil fuels.


Is wind power production harmful to the environment?

Wind power is fuel-less energy, which does not generate emissions into the air, water or soil. However, as is the case with all forms of energy production, wind power does have some negative environmental impacts. The environmental impacts of wind power can be divided into impacts related to the construction of wind power plants, their operation and decommissioning.

The operational impacts of wind power have to do with landscape perspectives as well as the sound and movement of lights and shadows caused by the rotation of turbine blades.

The operation of a wind power plant does not impact the surrounding vegetation. However, wind power plants may impact their surrounding wildlife. The most significant environmental impact caused by the operation of wind power plants is their impact on bird populations. However, according to studies, migratory birds in particular learn to avoid wind power plants, and the presence of wind power plants has not been shown to reduce the sizes of bird populations nesting near the plants.

Finland’s wind power capacity could be expanded significantly, and new wind power plants could be constructed out at sea, for example, which would minimise their landscape and sound impact. As the production of natural wind energy increases, so too does the security of the electricity supply, which in turn reduces the amount of harmful emissions into the air.

The carbon dioxide emissions of wind power production are only some 10 g/kWh, consisting mainly of emissions caused by the construction, assembly, transportation and maintenance of wind power plants. Considering the structure of Finland’s electricity production, the greenhouse gas reduction potential of wind power is estimated to be approximately 700g CO2/kWh.


How is the energy consumption of metro trains and trams being reduced?

The energy consumption of public transport is managed by designing efficient routes, training drivers in economical driving and maintaining the good condition of metro trains and trams.

HKL is committed to improving energy-efficiency, not only in its transport services, but also in its premises. The municipal energy efficiency agreement (KETS) sets the objectives for the monitoring, reduction and reporting of energy consumption in our premises. We also emphasise lifecycle thinking in all our procurements and construction efforts.

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