International Energy Agency praises Finland energy policy

Finland has succeeded in ensuring energy security, reduced dependence on fossil fuels, and has integrated well with the Nordic energy market.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) has praised Finland for its commitment to a sustainable energy future in a review of Finnish energy policies. According to the IEA, Finland’s push for renewables and nuclear power is coherent with the country’s long-term decarbonisation strategy. The report was handed to Minister of Economic Affairs Jan Vapaavuori by IEA Executive Director Maria van der Hoeven on 23 May 2013.

“The Country Review presented by Executive Director van der Hoeven makes for pleasant reading. The review shows that Finland has made the right, sustainable choices in energy policy,” said Vapaavuori. The report notes that Finland has an ambitious renewable energy programme and aims to meet 38% of its final energy consumption from renewable sources by 2020. Finland is the most forested country in Europe, and biomass will therefore play a central role in meeting the target.

Biomass and biogas challenges

The report highlights IEA concerns about potential EU legislation regarding the sustainability of biomass, which could bring about a great deal of administrative burden for sustainability certification schemes. According to Vapaavuori, Finland has participated actively in the EU’s search for a good solution to the sustainability criteria for biomass. “The criteria should not impede the functioning of the bioenergy market, the attainment of renewable energy targets or the targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” he said.

Van der Hoeven highlighted the success of the regional integration of Nordic electricity markets but added that Finland’s gas market remained severely constrained by its lack of supply diversity and import infrastructure. The report attributes the success of Finland’s nuclear programme to the government’s effective and inclusive planning and consenting regime, and to the high level of trust that the population has in its government due to its top-of-the-league ranking in terms of transparency and absence of corruption.

The IEA is an energy organisation with 28 OECD member countries and conducts a review every five years on the energy policy of each member country.

Sources: IEA, Ministry of Employment and the Economy