Renewable energy sources already make up 35% of total energy consumption by end users in Finland, according to preliminary data by Statistics Finland. The renewable energy target set for Finland by the EU is 38% by the year 2020.
Energy produced from wood biomass accounts for about 80% of the total renewable energy production. In the future, the fastest growing sectors will be solar and wind energy, according to Markku Alm from the Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment of the Varsinais-Suomi region, which published Finland’s annual renewable energy sector report on 29.11.2013.
In 2012, the turnover of the renewable energy sector was EUR 842 million, which was 5.8% less than in 2011 due to lower industrial production and warmer than normal temperatures in Finland. The sector employed 6,074 people in 1405 locations. In terms of the companies in the sector, 94.7% had less than 10 employees, and their share of the sector’s turnover was 56.5%.
The biggest investments in the sector were made by UPM in its biofuel refinery in Lappeenranta, which will be completed in 2014, and by Forest Btl in its biodiesel plant in Kemi. Investments in wind power are expected to increase to EUR 4–5 billion, but their impact on total energy production will only become visible in 3–5 years’ time. The development of thanol, biogas and wood diesel still remains at an early stage in Finland.
The renewable energy sector has significant growth potential, according to the Ministry of Employment and the Economy, and can provide an important economic boost especially to remote rural areas. The most important challenge in the future is developing waste-to-energy processing technologies that are more cost-efficient.
Source: Ministry of Employment and the Economy