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13 June 2024

Can solar parks act as future carbon sinks? Biolan and Better Energy to explore the benefits of revegetation of peatlands

Biolan and Better Energy are jointly exploring how the revegetation of peatlands within solar parks can help sequester carbon. The two companies are looking for solutions through reintroducing native vegetation.

Finland is increasingly shifting towards renewable energy, and the demand for locally produced renewable energy is growing. Better Energy has built 1,600 megawatts of solar energy in Northern Europe. In 2023, it generated enough green electricity for more than 250,000 European households. The company plans to establish solar parks with a development portfolio of over 3,000 MWp and spanning a total area of 4,000 hectares in Finland, which covers the annual consumption of over 500,000 Finnish households.

"Our goal is to build industrial-scale grid solar energy in Finland in the most responsible way possible. This requires considering the local environment, stakeholders, landowners, neighbours and future generations from the beginning of the process. Our long-term aim is to achieve a negative carbon balance, and one way to do this is by investigating whether solar parks can function as carbon sinks," explains Marcus Stenstrand, Better Energy's Business Director for Finland, regarding the company's operational model.

Better Energy's first solar park, with an annual production capacity of approximately 34 GWh of renewable energy, is expected to be completed near Vierumäki at Laviassuo by 2026. The company is developing its first solar parks in Finland on decommissioned peat extraction sites.

Opportunities to produce solar energy while capturing carbon

Human activity has already modified a significant portion of the peatlands in Finland. Better Energy, in collaboration with Biolan, is developing a vegetation strategy for its solar parks that aims to enhance the revegetation of the peatlands.

"Biolan's goal is to find renewable raw materials for growing media production. For years, we have been involved in research seeking solutions for the sustainable usage, processing, harvesting and cultivation of renewable biomass, such as sphagnum moss. Now we can use this knowledge to also turn solar park areas into carbon sinks," says Janne Pitkänen, Biolan's Director of Peatland Operations.

“The carbon sink function of decommissioned peat extraction areas can be restored by maintaining high water levels, allowing the water table to rise close to the surface of the peat. This enables the growth of mosses and other plants, which in turn enhances biodiversity and can lead to long-term carbon sequestration. Vegetation also plays a critical role in water filtration, effectively retaining nutrient and humus runoff by acting as a natural filter,” says Leena Virkki, Better Energy’s Senior Environmental and Sustainability Specialist.

"At Biolan, we conduct research and make long-term investments to find the most environmentally sustainable raw materials. The area of the solar parks could also be an opportunity to cultivate renewable biomass for growth medium production," says Biolan's Pitkänen.

"We have not built solar parks on wetlands anywhere else in Europe. Biolan's expertise in peatland operations will be immensely helpful in enabling us to vegetate the decommissioned peatlands. We have found a partner in Biolan that shares our values and the goal of building a more sustainable future," concludes Better Energy's Marcus Stenstrand.

 

Media Inquiries

Lucas Benjamin Schmidt | Better Energy | Senior Communications Specialist | +45 71 40 83 36 | lbs@betterenergy.dk

Janne Pitkänen | Biolan Oy |  Director Peatland Business | 040 560 3382 | janne.pitkanen@biolan.fi

 

About Biolan Oy

Biolan is a Finnish family business whose 50-year history is based on the creation and utilisation of the circular economy. With its products, Biolan strives to reduce the human-caused environmental burden. Biolan's name comes from the words biological fertilisation. Today, the product selection covers garden and houseplant products that use recycled raw materials, dry toilets, composters, and environmentally friendly wastewater systems. To learn more, visit: www.biolan.com.

 

About Better Energy

Better Energy is a fully integrated renewable energy company that builds additional green energy capacity. We develop, build, own and operate large-scale renewable energy parks with a focus on local and regional value creation and a strong commitment to nature. The green electricity we produce provides companies with more certainty and allows them to have an impact beyond meeting sustainability targets. We are one of Northern Europe's fastest growing solar energy producers, with upcoming renewable energy capacity of more than 16,300 MWp. We entered the Finnish market in 2022, and through close collaboration with municipalities and communities, we have matured a development portfolio of 3,000 MWp by the end of 2023.

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