Changing energy consumption and production in Finland

The increasing trend in energy consumption has levelled out and renewable energy is on the rise in Finland.

For the first time, the amount of energy produced by renewable energy sources and nuclear power has overtaken the use of fossil fuels in Finland. According to researchers from the Academy of Finland’s Finnish Research Programme on Climate Change (FICCA), the changes in energy consumption are the result of decisions on the national level as well as independent initiatives for the use of new energy technologies by businesses, municipalities and households in Finland.

The era of reduction in greenhouse gases has begun and the increase in energy consumption has stopped in Finland, according to Professor Raimo Lovio, head of the LAICA project within FICCA which focuses on the local use of energy innovations. Energy consumption in Finland has not increased in ten years and the anticipated increase by the year 2020 will likely remain minimal.

Wood energy and heat pumps

There are many factors that point to a turnaround in the way that Finns consume energy. Until now, the most successful technologies involved in the turnaround have been wood energy and heat pumps. The increase in the use of forest processed chips in the production of electricity and heat has been the greatest single factor in promoting wood energy.

Finland is one of the leading European countries in the use of heat pumps. Every second new single-family home is equipped with a geothermal system. These types of systems are also becoming more common for the heating and cooling of larger properties.

Growing wind and solar energy

According to Lovio, the development of wind and solar energy is now picking up momentum. Finland’s wind power capacity will nearly double during 2013, and by 2020 the increase will be manifold. “This is possible because of the subsidised feed-in tariff, careful placement of wind power plants and the development of marine wind power,” says Lovio.

A turn-around in the field of solar energy is visible in a new attitude of the citizens and companies, as well as the government. “Finland is seeing the development of a solar energy cluster that operates within both the domestic and export markets. Along with smaller companies, the large energy corporations have begun to sell solar energy solutions to their customers, and we’re seeing the implementation of smart grid-connected solar power systems, which would be attractive to consumers.”

Solutions that improve the energy efficiency of traffic, lighting and heating are being developed at a rapid pace. Energy solutions are the most promising aspect of Finland’s cleantech exports, according to Lovio.

Source: Academy of Finland