Big India plans for next-gen Finnish power company

Big India plans for next-gen Finnish power company

Finnish power generation company Fortum, which focusses on low emissions, resource-efficiency and energy security, sees energy-hungry India as a market with huge potential.

"India is important for Fortum because of its growing electricity needs," Tapio Kuula, president and chief executive officer of Fortum, told a visiting IANS correspondent here.

Though Fortum sees itself as an expert in power generation from biomass and waste, its power generation from this source amounts to only two percent of its total generation of 72.7 terawatt hours (TWh), nuclear and hydro power being the leaders.

For India, however,  it has only power generation from biomass and waste in mind. "We are experts in power generation from biomass and waste," Kuula explained.
"In India, we see huge biomass potential, which is why India is an important part of our strategy."

Though the current general model of power generation involves setting up multiple boilers at the customer location - read industrial clusters - Fortum's model of consolidated combined heat and power (CHP) generation by retaining heat offers several advantages, Kuula said.

"For one, it enables the use of local fuels like bio and waste," he stated. "It offers opportunities in synergising bio energy and bio fuel markets. The reduction in carbon dioxide emission also makes it competitive in the CHP technology market," he added.

On its plans for India, Kuula said that his company sees the possibility of scale, growing from small-scale to large-scale. "It will mean more efficient and sustainable use of fuels and will offer a new source of income for farmers."

Explaining the feasibilty of Fortum's technology, Pasi Mikkonen, Fortum's vice president for large projects, concept development and purchases, said that the European Union is supporting his company's CHP solution.

"The EU is willing to give subsidy to those who use it (the Fortum CHP generation technology). The waste-to-energy solution will help municipalities in waste management."

Kuula, however, made it clear that though his company banks on nuclear energy for the Nordic countries, it will stick to biomass and waste in India. "We don't want to invest in nuclear power in India or, for that matter, any developing nation, as there are so many issues associated with it. We will stick to biomass in India as that is where we see our core competency in that country," he asserted, while expressing confidence that there will be demand for Fortum's technology in the subcontinent.

Fortum is set to officially launch its India operations later this month.