VR's energy efficiency programme seeks ways to improve energy efficiency
7. November 2022 News and current issues
The current Europe-wide crisis affects all of society and every household. The rise in the price of electricity and its availability in the winter are raising a great deal of discussion. The same applies to us here at VR. It has been estimated that our energy costs may almost double this year as a result of the rise in the price of electricity. VR accounts for almost 1% of the total electricity consumption in Finland. Most of the electricity we use, 90%, is consumed by train operations, after which our main electricity consumers are real estate.
As a company, we have been carrying our long-term and good work for the environment and energy efficiency for decades. The objective set in our environmental program of reducing energy consumption by 15% per unit of output by 2025 is now gaining momentum as we embark on a Group-wide development programme for more efficient energy consumption.
The objective of the energy efficiency programme is to increase the efficiency of energy use by 5–10% and to involve all VR employees and stakeholders in energy saving efforts.
“At VR, we also want to do our part to help Finland in this challenging energy situation. Since we are a large consumer of energy at the national level, our actions have an impact from the point of view of the sufficiency of electricity and consumption peaks. We need to find and deploy all the tools we can use to strengthen proactive measures and preparedness and to realise the potential for energy savings in the near future” says VR’s CFO Erkka Repo.
Rapid action to overcome short-term challenges, but also looking further to the future
The identified methods to save energy include promoting economical driving methods, improving traffic and fleet planning, improving the energy consumption of railway yards, and making better use of data and analytics in monitoring energy consumption. Stakeholder collaboration, for example, with traffic control, also plays a key role in improving the energy efficiency of rail traffic.
“Cooperation is the key to success. We are constantly working closely with various stakeholders. With Fintraffic’s traffic control, significant savings can be achieved by reducing unnecessary train stops and planning them better. In addition, efforts have been made on the freight traffic side, together with customers, to improve the energy efficiency of traffic. For example, optimising train traffic kilometres, improving capacity utilisation rates and minimising driving empty trains are already identified and available means,” Repo continues.
The programme does not stop at short-term objectives; it also aims to look further to the future. As the energy efficiency programme progresses, we will look at longer-term measures to support the transition towards renewable energies and to ensure the most energy-efficient and environmentally friendly choices possible in the procurement of new rolling stock.