Report from a High-level National Heat Pump Event in Finland, Espoo

On May 21 SULPU, the Finish heat pump association, arranged a High-level National Heat Pump Event in Espoo in conjunction with the Executive Committee meeting for the IEA Technology Collaboration Programme on Heat Pumping Technologies (HPT TCP). The event was attended by both national and international professionals.

The event was introduced by the Industrial Councellor Timo Ritonummi, from the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment who talked about Energy politics in Finland and the role of heat pumps. He said that the share of renewable energy is very high in Finland, 35%, even though hydro power has a modest share. Much of the renewable energy originates from forest industry, heat pumps, wind and solar. Every year heat pumps produce more renewable energy than wind power. There is a goal set up of having more than 1 million heat pumps in Finland which has soon been reached. District heating is used in many cities and the heat is produced to large extent by fossil fuels like gas and coal, but large heat pumps are also used. The coal shall be phased out by latest 2029, which will increase the share of heat produced by large heat pumps.

Armi Temmes, Professor of practice, Allto University, talked about How Finland can benefit from the energy transition. She concluded that the transition of the energy system in Finland means getting rid of fossil fuel. This is a major task, which needs a systemic change. Electrification of the energy system is needed and the heat pump industry is in the middle of the this transition. However, electrification is good only if electricity is clean.

A combination of technologies is needed, combining clean district heating, wind power, heat pumps and storge. Windpower will be needed to a large extent and intermittency of electricity will increase. Storage of heat will be at least as important as storage of electricity, and much cheaper. To conclude the transition of the energy system means a big story for heat pumps!

Jussi Hirvonen, from SULPU, talked about the development of the heat pump market in Finland. Heat pumps are a success story in Finland, which has come real without subsidies and soon 1 million heat pumps are installed. It is a bridging technology between heat and electricity and they suits as well for individual as for centralized heating and cooling systems. The Finish market is very domestic, most heat pumps are produced by small companies which employs a lot of people. The main heat pump market is in renovation, only 8% in new buildings, even though 50% of new built chose ground source heat pump. Many multifamily houses change from district heating to exhaust and/or ground source heat pumps to save money and the environment.

During the rest of the day the audience was informed about that there are about 700 000 air to air heat pumps installed in Finland. However, there are also several large ground source heat pump installations, for example for heating and cooling of shopping centers and university buildings.