Siikainen – Forerunners by nature
Siikainen is a municipal of appr. 495 km2 with lakes and forests. There’s 55
lakesin the area and 76 % of Siikainen is covered with forests. We have about
1500 inhabitants and nearly a thousand vacation cottages,so especially in the
summertime our population more than doubles.
At the end of 1990’s Siikainen decided to give up oil and start heating with
woodchip. A power plant for district heating was built and in 1997 19 local
forest ownersfounded a co-operative society which isthe second oldest one in Finland. At the time no-one paid anything ofspine and other waste-wood, so the co-operative’s aim wasto get this energy-wood to be used locally and get a better payment. As a result the forests are bettertaken care of and the
members getsome extra money. The co-operative itself operates nonprofitably, everything goes back to members divided by how much they have produced woodchip during the year.
Compared to oil’s price Siikainen has been able to cut costs and give work to
local people. The co-operative has won competitive tendering; now-a-days we buy some 3500 MWh of heat yearly, which is appr. 2250 solid m3 of chip. As a result there’sless CO2 in the air, local forest ownerstake better care of their forests and the money staysin the area – it’s a win-win situation
The municipal itself has appr. 3 km of pipe lines mainly heating own properties
but also some private ones. Some local factories and many farms have their own woodchip power plants. The co-operative has now-a-days 48 members and there’stwo entrepreneurs who mainly take care of making woodchip. Product is also sold to other power plants nearby. As a result of having these woodchip power plants and windmills combined withthe fact that we have low consumption and sparse settlement, Siikainen actuallyproduces CO2-free energy more than what gets used.
We have made even more decisions of how to use space and energy more
efficiently. In a star-shaped building called Metsätähti we have combined a
nursing home, kindergarten, healthcare-station and centralized kitchen under the same roof. Studentsfrom the neighboring school go there to dine and also
the sports hall islocated close by. Everyone of these buildingsis naturally
warmed up with district heating. Eteläpää, the place where we are having dinner, was originally builtsome 25 years ago. In the area owned by the municipal there’s 20 cottages owned by private people serving the needs of tourists. Siikainen has developed the area, the main building was extended 10 years ago, there’s also a fullsized frisbeegolf track, a minigolf track, trailsforrunning and skiing etc.
Siikainen is one of the membersin Lauhanvuori-Hämeenkangas Geopark area. In Katselma we have a towerfor birdwatchers, a lean-on and the sight to the widest unified mire areasin southern Finland. We have geologically interesting cliffs, areas belonging to Natura 2000, areasthat are defined astotally silent – like it’ssaid in the beginning, we are forerunners by nature!
Sari Vuorela, member of the municipal government
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