Meet our Commercial Director

Pumped Hydro Storage continues to grow. Raine Vasanoja, with 20 years of experience from the renewable energy sector, has joined the team as commercial director.

– I simply believe wholeheartedly in what Pumped Hydro Storage Sweden do. We place turbines and pumps in old mines, places where an environmental interference has already been made, and converting them to something good. This way we can turn debt to nature into a resource for the environment. It’s brilliant and the opportunities endless, says Raine.

The world is in need of fossil free energy and the shift towards renewable energy has already begun. During the last decade humanity has taken giant leaps towards a more sustainable world. But still a lot of work remains and enormous challenges lies ahead. One of them is storage. Unlike with coal and oil, we are not able to control when we are able to produce electricity from wind and solar – we can’t tell the wind to blow because we need to turn on the lights. Therefore, the ability to store energy when there is a surplus in solar and wind production for later use is important.

– There is a lot of talk of a fossil free world. But that won’t happen unless we have energy storage. Today batteries only account for three to five percent of the storage capacity. And the rest? Pumped water, says Raine.

After finishing his studies at the Swedish School of Economics in Finland he started his career 20 years ago at ABB in Finland. A place and time he calls a hotbed for individuals working with clean energy technology.

– That’s where my interest in clean energies started, he says.

He later moved on to work with the establishment and expansion of wind power in Finland before starting to work with foreign direct investments for the Finnish government. This past summer he learnt about a pilot project the company is working on at the island of Åland and got interested. It did not take long until he was hired and also investing in Pumped Hydro Storage Sweden.

Pumped Hydro Storage Sweden uses the difference in elevation in old, abandoned mines as a way to store energy. Simply put: water is pumped from a lower to a higher reservoir when energy needs to be stored and is released back to the lower reservoir through a turbine when electricity is needed.

– Pumped hydro has been around for a hundred years so there is nothing new in that aspect of it. What’s new is how we useit. It’s a proven technology in a new setting.

The pumped hydro storage systems that exist today are all open systems. This means that huge dams are used which has an enormous environmental impact for landscapes, river flows and local ecosystems. The brilliance of Pumped Hydro Storage Sweden’s model is that it uses already existing mines to create these reservoirs. Right now Pumped Hydro Storage Sweden is constructing two projects, one on Åland, the other one in Pyhäsalmi in Finland.

– The Finnish project is a high-head pilot, and the aim is to scale it up to 75 megawatt when it is tested and optimized.That’s amazing and a fantastic resource. And it’s only the first out of many similar installations across the world, he finishes.

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