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Annual review 2022: Success for Oulun Energia in exceptional circumstances

30.03.2023 / Last updated 19.04.2023 13:51

2022 was an exceptional year for the energy sector because of Russia’s war of aggression and its consequences. Juha Juntunen, managing director at Oulun Energia, estimates that the company was successful last year despite the very difficult circumstances.

After the war broke out, Oulun Energia quickly abandoned the use of chips and oil imported from Russia. Replacing them with other energy sources was not completely straightforward, but it was a success. As in previous years, Oulun Energia’s security of supply of electricity and heat distribution remained at a high level. Despite the difficult year, there were also successful investments made in the energy transition and the work towards responsibility was continued with determination.

Oulun Energia’s profits in 2022 did not increase in proportion to its net sales. The net sales were inflated by the high price of electricity, but the net profit was reduced by many dramatically increased expenses.

“Our financial performance was moderate considering the turbulent conditions. Oulun Energia Group’s revenue rose to EUR 268.2 million and its net operating profit to EUR 39.3 million. The corresponding figures for the previous year were 230 million and 37.4 million euros,” Juntunen states.

It is also significant that Oulun Energia did not pass on the increase in costs to its district heating customer prices in the middle of 2022. In addition, the company reduced the electricity network service rate (formerly transmission price) by 13.5% from the beginning of April last year. Oulun Energia’s district heating customer prices are among the lowest in comparison with other large municipally owned corporations. The electricity network service rates for electricity transmission are also well below national averages.

“We also took normal price protections for the electricity we produced, which is why the actual prices are partly lower than market prices,” Juntunen shares.

The lower net profit is also due to the EUR 7 million write-down that the company made following the failure of the Hanhikivi nuclear power plant project. In 2021, similar one-time write-downs and provisions amounted to EUR 5.7 million for peat production.

Investments in Laanila

During 2022, Oulun Energia continued to make significant investment decisions concerning the development of the Laanila industrial area.

“The investments to be built in Laanila include an electric boiler utilising renewable electricity for the production of district heat, a new turbine for the ecopower plant, and a wood chipper, which will enhance utilising raw wood material at the Laanila biopower plant. The electric boiler and the turbine will be finished by the end of this year, and the wood chipper early next year,” says Managing Director Juntunen.

Carbon neutral by 2030

Responsibility is at the core of Oulun Energia. It permeates the company and all its operations. A key part of the work towards responsibility is to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030.

“We have created a path to take to achieve our goals. The unprecedented year did not break the path. Our goal is to be carbon neutral by 2030,” explains Juha Juntunen.

The share of renewable energy sources in our electricity and heat production increased in 2022 from 67% to 70%. We reduced our emissions by more than 33,000 tonnes, or 8%, from the previous year.

Investing in the circular economy is also a way for Oulun Energia to mitigate climate change and address sustainability and climate challenges. At the same time, the investments help build a new economic pillar. Oulun Energia transferred its circular economy operations to its subsidiary Syklo Oy. The aim is that Syklo develops into a major player in the circular economy field in Finland.

Production and distribution as expected

With the energy crisis, fuel prices rose, the price of electricity reached record highs, and the import of energy from Russia ceased. Despite these challenges, the company’s production of electricity and heat went smoothly.

The unprecedented year highlighted new challenges such as the threat of electricity shortages. We were prepared for power outages due to a shortage in electricity. It took great effort to prepare for the implementation and communication of outages. Fortunately, the outages were not necessary.