Oulun Energia logo

Coastline from Isosuo located in Ylikiiminki, Oulu.
Coastline from Isosuo located in Ylikiiminki, Oulu.

Biodiversity

We created the first biodiversity roadmap for the Oulun Energia Group in early 2024. The purpose of Oulun Energia Group’s biodiversity roadmap is to describe the objective and concrete actions with which we are responding to preventing the deteriorating state of biodiversity.

The Group’s various actions have a greater or lesser impact on the environment and also have profound effects that harm biodiversity. The biodiversity roadmap is strongly linked to Oulun Energia Group’s sustainability plan.

Oulun Energia’s biodiversity vision is to be nature positive by 2035. Nature positivity means that the business operations as a whole benefits biodiversity more than it harms it.

Customers and interest groups want to know about our concrete actions and plans towards sustainability. In our strategy, we have specified that we are a responsible pioneer and that we take responsibility for people and our environment. This pledge also requires us to take action for biodiversity.

Oulun Energia has identified the biodiversity impacts of its operations. Direct impacts include air, water, and soil emissions, as well as the impacts caused by construction. Supply chains and partner operations cause indirect impacts.

The construction of the Merikoski power plant in the 1940s closed off the lower part of the Oulujoki river catchment area with a dam. The construction of the hydroelectric power plant caused significant impacts for aquatic organisms and especially for migratory fish.

The procurement of fuels for energy production has both direct and indirect impacts. Oulun Energia uses wood fuels, peat, and Solid Recovered Fuel as fuel for the plants. The introduction of peat extraction land has weakened the biodiversity of marshlands.

In terms of forest energy, the impacts are indirect, as we buy the fuels through a supply chain.

 

Our actions to increase biodiversity


OE_Luontopositiivinen_Oulun_Energia_1250x_EN.jpg

Development of the Merikoski area

The construction of the Merikoski power plant in the 1940s closed off the lower part of the Oulujoki river catchment area with a dam. The construction of the hydroelectric power plant caused significant impacts for aquatic organisms and especially for migratory fish. The Merikoski dam prevented the fish from migrating into the Oulujoki river, and the breeding areas in the reservoir were destroyed during the river’s construction. Regulation and flow rate changes affect ecosystems, and regulation of water flow suppresses natural fluctuations in water levels.

The fish pass bypassing the Merikoski power plant was completed in 2003. Over the years, approximately 16,000 salmon and more than 3,000 trout have migrated through the fish pass to the Oulujoki River. 

The Merikoski area has been actively developed in recent years. In 2021, a preliminary assessment was completed on the technical feasibility and costs of the fishery rehabilitation proposals for the Oulujoki river (Sweco 2021), which assessed the possibilities of filling the old channel of the Merikoski rapids with water and the potential for fish reproduction in the area.

As subjects of further investigation, the Oulujoki river waterway vision, completed in 2023, identified the development of the existing fish pass, the observation of the organic fish pass, filling the old channel of the rapids with water year-round and the related construction of a microhydropower plant, the development of the Hupisaaret area, and the improvement of the breeding possibilities of the Hartaanselkä powan. Examination of the implementation possibilities for this has begun in 2024. The project will be completed at the end of the year. After this, we can see which actions to improve biodiversity can be carried out quickly, which actions require a more time to plan and implement, and which actions are unfeasible for one reason or another.  

Kalaporras elokuu 2022-900x600.jpg  Yläkalatie-400x209.jpg

 

New life in the wetlands

Turveruukki has been producing peat since 1975. New extraction lands have not been established since 2018. The main focus of operations has shifted from production to the decommissioning of the lands. In accordance with the permit process related to peat production, we carry out restoration work, after which the area goes into further use. 

For decades, different types of wetlands have been formed on land decommissioned from peat production. Wetlands provide a breeding ground for many plant and animal species. They can also act as water purifiers in a catchment area. Wetlands have been formed on an area of about 600 hectares and their number will increase as the lands leave production.

A waterfowl habitat of more than 50 hectares was completed in Kurunneva, Rantsila in 1996. Structures supporting recreational use have been built in the area, such as a bird-watching tower, a campfire hut, and a peat sauna.

In 2011, 45 hectares of the former Karjoneva peat production land have been incorporated into the Finnish Natural Heritage Foundation’s Konttikangas-Karjoneva conservation area. Lake reedbed rapidly vegetated the area. The area has a multi-species bird population. Nesting birds in the area include, for example, wood sandpiper, pintail, swan, crane, and bean goose. Birds also stop in the area to rest and eat during migration periods. There is a nature trail in the area.

 

Karjoneva_kosteikko_2.jpg  

 

We protect the original peatland environment

We have been purchasing peatland for peat production for decades. Some of this acquired land has been excluded from peat production and thus has remained in an almost natural state. These areas may have a high nature conservation value, which is why they have also been made into nature conservation areas of about 500 ha from different parts of North Ostrobothnia.

Kaitasuo_suo_7-900x600.jpg  

 

Onni – urban pollinator meadow

The customers of our Onni carbon-neutral district heating voted for the creation of an urban pollinator meadow as the sustainability act to be implemented in 2024.

The meadow will be formed next to the pedestrian and cycle path below the Merikoski power plant. Oulun Infra is responsible for the implementation of the project.

The pollinator meadow will be implemented so that the trees and lawns are removed from the area and in their place, a meadow plant mix will be sown and container-grown seedlings suitable for butterflies and pollinators will be planted.

 

Joint projects that increase biodiversity

We have co-funded projects related to biodiversity at several research institutes. The most recent large-scale research project has been the Sateenvarjo III project led by the Natural Resources Institute Finland, which aims at the restoration of migratory fish populations. The project monitors the behaviour of migratory fish (salmon, trout, and powan) in existing sites. The collected research data can be used both in connection with the project sites and with implementation solutions that improve the passage of new migratory fish.

Through the Miljöö Innovation Grant, we have granted funding for nature projects. We have funded, for example, the construction of the Loppula Nature House, which will enable the use of the Sanginjoki Nature Reserve.

With the OuMo project funding, we are contributing to improving the environmental conditions of the Oulujoki river water system and reducing the harm caused by the production of hydropower. The funding has been used, for example, for stocking salmon smolts and monitoring the effectiveness of the stocking, as well as for monitoring the reintroduction of sea trout in the Hupisaari Islands.

Merikosken-kalatie-1200x628px.jpg