Heat entrepreneurship promotes local business activity.
Heat entrepreneurship is the production of local renewable energy, where an entrepreneur or company sells heat at an agreed price to a user. In the best scenarios there can be many heat purchasers. Heat is conveyed to the customer from the heating plant by a district heating network. Generally the fuel is the entrepreneur’s own forest or locally procured wood, but it can also be wood refining by-products, wood for re-cycling and peat.
Heat production from wood and other bio-fuels increases local employment and reduces the use of fossil fuels. It is also an economical and environmentally friendly method to produce heat.
In addition to procuring the fuel, the entrepreneur manages the operations of the heating plant and gains income from the energy produced. The heating plant can be the owner’s real estate or the property of the entrepreneur, and their power can vary between a few hundred kilowatts and a few megawatts. A written heat delivery contract is made for the delivery of the heat.
In Finland, heat entrepreneurship started operations from small oil heating facilities, which were modified for heat production from wood chips. Initially heat entrepreneurship was a secondary occupation, but now it is the main occupation for many entrepreneurs.
South Ostrobothnia, in Western Finland, has most heat companies.
Heat purchasers are mostly local authorities. Wood energy offers local authorities and towns a local energy alternative, where their region’s energy resources and the services of local business are utilised. In this way, the cash flows of heat business activity support the economic development of its own region.
Currently in Finland there are over 500 units of energy plants run by heat entrepreneurs. Of these, almost a fifth is in Western Finland in South Ostrobothnia.