QHeat’s new CEO, Erika Salmenvaara, wants to connect properties to a bidirectional heating network

Quantitative Heat Oy, a company specialized in geothermal energy, appointed Erika Salmenvaara as its CEO on November 10, 2021. Salmenvaara joins QHeat after being the Head of Sustainability and Real Estate at Antilooppi, a property investment company. She was also a part of the management team at Antilooppi. Salmenvaara has a wealth of experience in business management in both the energy industry and property investment.

“Erika’s substantial experience in property development brings much needed expertise to QHeat. Her view of how property investors and owners can be engaged in a new market model in heat production is a crucial factor in QHeat’s growth,” says Rami Niemi, QHeat’s founder and Chief Technology Officer.

Startup thinking in large companies

The first time Salmenvaara heard about QHeat was in 2017 when she was working for Technopolis. Even then, she wondered what she could do to advance the ongoing energy transition.

“Over three years ago I had a discussion with QHeat’s founders, Rami Niemi and Miska Eriksson, about their vision for geothermal energy. Around the same time, I started to navigate towards the energy sector in my own career. Along the way I have learned much and, of course, kept track of QHeat’s development, so I could not be happier to have a chance to advance the company’s growth,” says Erika Salmenvaara.

Even though her work experience is mainly from large companies, Salmenvaara has participated in building new and innovative operations in these companies. For example, at Helen she managed the launch of a business with energy efficiency services, which was later combined with the company’s geothermal energy business.

Salmenvaara feels that her strengths as a leader are the development of new business and the streamlining of business processes to meet customer needs.

“A developing business needs standards to support its process but at the same time, I believe that the development of process streamlining requires agility and strong collaboration with stakeholders. As a company, QHeat is now at a point where streamlining and building the processes that guide our business will lead to a great success story.”

The energy sector is rapidly changing in the production of electricity—now the transformation will happen in heat production

The transition into fossil-free production of electricity is progressing fast, while the heating of properties has had major issues with replacing fossil sources, having previously had only few available options. According to Salmenvaara, the greatest challenges for the extensive development of geothermal heat production relate to increasing and supporting the desire to invest.

Salmenvaara points out that from a property owner’s viewpoint the profitability of an investment means everything. At first, an investor might have trouble adopting a new model of thinking where they are the owner of heat production. The current model is fully outsourced and familiar to investors: an investor purchases the heating subscription, and the service provider ensures that the property is heated. In the new model, there might not be a service provider in which case the investor itself owns the heat production. Salmenvaara believes this model is appealing particularly because the proprietor does not need to worry about any price increases in the energy production costs. All they need is an initial investment, and the property’s heating needs are met when the well is complete.

“Geothermal heat production technology is a different market from what the investors might be used to previously. Many of them might still be uncertain about the change in the way of thinking. However, the emission and profit targets support the decision to invest in renewable energy,” Salmenvaara states.

 

More information:

Rami Niemi, Chief Technology Officer, Quantitative Heat Oy rami.niemi@qheat.fi

+358 50 3742441

QHeat is a startup company specialized in geothermal energy. The company has developed a new deep geothermal heating system based on the QHeat concept. QHeat was founded in 2018 and its technology has been patented and tested in cooperation with Finnish experts and universities. QHeat delivered Finland’s first geothermal heating plant in Koskelo, Espoo in 2019.