Due to a high self-sufficiency rate in energy, UPM has been able to focus on energy solutions that produce less fossil carbon dioxide. Where possible, fossil fuels are substituted by renewable fuels. Where fossil fuels are needed, natural gas is the first choice, dependent upon availability in the region.
CHP plants burn renewable fuels like bark, forest residues, fibre residues and solid residues from deinking and effluent treatment plants. Additionally, fossil fuels like natural gas or light fuel oil are used at CHP plants and steam boilers. Coal is used as an energy source only in mills where there is no other alternative fuel source.
Chemical pulp mills combust biomass-based waste liquor – black liquor – that is formed during the pulping process.
UPM is a forerunner in the use of wood-based biomass and has invested heavily in renewable biomass-based energy generation during the past decade by replacing a number of old fossil fuel-fired power plants with new biomass-based power plants.
At the same time, UPM has increased the range of sustainably harvested wood biomass from its forests for energy generation. UPM has worked closely with regulators, non-governmental organisations and universities in developing methods for sustainable biomass harvesting.
UPM's biomass-based sources for energy also include black liquor from the pulping process and bark. Effective large-scale utilisation of biomass-based fuels is an important aspect of the group's energy strategy.
Hydropower is an essential part of UPM’s versatile energy portfolio and is a good example of a renewable and CO2-free energy resource. Hydropower is a cost-efficient way to generate energy; the power plants have low maintenance costs and a long life span. Hydropower is also a flexible and adjustable way of generating electricity.
UPM owns nine hydropower plants in Finland and has shareholdings in hydropower through Pohjolan Voima Oy and Kemijoki Oy. Most of UPM's hydropower plants were built between the 1930s and 1950s. In addition, some paper mills have their own hydro power plants in the nearby rivers.
With the continuous modernisation of its production capacity, UPM aims to improve the operational efficiency and environmental safety of its hydropower plants.
In Finland, UPM owns nuclear power through its associated company, Pohjolan Voima Oy, which is the second largest power generator in the country. PVO is the majority shareholder of nuclear power producer Teollisuuden Voima Oyj, which operates two reactors in Olkiluoto, Finland.
UPM has reserved approximately 31% (500 MW) of TVO's Olkiluoto 3 nuclear power unit's capacity via PVO. The OL 3 unit is currently under construction.