Ülemiste City to make the switch to an environmentally sustainable district heating and cooling system for 11 million euros

Developers of Ülemiste City, Technopolis Ülemiste AS, and Mainor Ülemiste AS, together with Utilitas energy group, will invest 11 million euros to connect the community to a district heating and cooling network and give up heating with natural gas.

Complete gallery Photos: Julia-Maria Linna

‘The community is making a green turn – last year, we made the switch to green electricity and in the coming years, we will be able to completely give up burning fossil natural gas, which the campus has depended on so far,’ said Gert Jostov, CEO of Technopolis Ülemiste. ‘The green trend is the noblest trend in the world, because it makes us reconsider what and how much to consume. The goal of Technopolis Group is to reduce the volume of imported energy by 10% by 2025 and to also rely increasingly on green solutions in the future.’

‘We are creating an environment which would support the development of our talents in every way. Sustainability and a green mindset have a very important role in that,’ Teet Raudsep, board member of Mainor Ülemiste AS, explained. ‘Interest in the Tominga green building, which will be completed in November next year and is set to be the first building in the community to be connected to the district heating and cooling system, has been significantly greater than anticipated. We are figuratively planting a small forest with 3,500 trees each year, considering the CO2 emissions that this innovative solution will help us to avoid.’

According to Priit Koit, head of the Utilitas energy group, giving up fossil fuels supports the achievement of both EU and Estonian climate goals: ‘At the end of last year, the European Commission introduced a new ambitious plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55 per cent instead of 40 per cent by 2030. The energy sector has a central role in the implementation of these plans. Therefore, the energy sector has to develop constantly, adopt renewable and fuel-free energy solutions, and increase the efficacy of production to achieve the decarbonisation of the sector,’ Priit Koit said.

‘The first stage of connecting Ülemiste City to district energy will already be completed by this autumn, and by the end of 2022, the entire community will be prepared to be connected,’ Robert Kitt, head of Utilitas’ district heating companies explains. ‘Ülemiste City, which used to be fully dependent on natural gas until now, is one of the first pioneers in Tallinn to switch to an environmentally sustainable solution, which will meet all environmental requirements for decades. We believe that more forward-looking developers will move to the Green Capital,’ Kitt added.

A big part of the first stage of the construction of the pipeline will be the main line, which will supply a large portion of the area, and bringing the pipeline through from under the railway between Peterburi Road and Suur-Sõjamäe Street. The construction of the pipeline began in the area between Valukoja and Sepise. The entire district heating and cooling pipeline inside the quarter will be installed concurrently, helping to optimise construction costs.

During the first stage, over 100,000 m2 of net area in Ülemiste City will be connected to district energy. The parties are investing 11 million euros in the development of the district heating and cooling system for the community and the investments will continue as more buildings are connected. The designer of the district heating and cooling network is HeatConsult OÜ and the main contractor for the construction is AS KE Infra.

AS Technopolis Ülemiste (www.technopolis.ee) is a major developer of Ülemiste City, a modern city district which was founded on the territory of the former Dvigatel factory. There are currently almost 400 businesses operating in the community, providing employment for about 10,000 people. Technopolis Ülemiste AS is owned by the Finnish company Technopolis Holding Plc, which has a 51 per cent share, and AS Mainor Ülemiste, which has a 49 per cent share.

Utilitas produces heat and electricity and provides district heating services in eight cities across Estonia: Tallinn, Rapla, Haapsalu, Kärdla, Valga, Jõgeva, Keila, and Maardu. The length of the Utilitas heating pipeline is over 550 kilometres. Companies in the group manage 26 heating plants, three biofuel-powered combined heat and power plants, and nine solar power plants. The group includes district heating companies AS Utilitas Tallinn, AS Utilitas Eesti, and OÜ Utilitas Tallinna Elektrijaam, which produces combined heat and power in Tallinn.

The main activity of Mainor Ülemiste AS (www.mainorulemiste.ee) is the development of the Ülemiste City business district. Rentable business spaces occupied by almost 500 operating companies have been built on 150,000 square metres of the district’s 36-hectare area.