The Finnish government’s ministerial working group for energy and climate policy finalized the national energy and climate strategy update at a meeting on 8.2.2013. Its central goals are the fulfilment of the national energy and climate objectives set for the year 2020 as well as the preparation of a route towards long-term energy and climate objectives. The completed strategy update will be delivered as a government report for parliamentary debate in the next few weeks, when it will also be made fully public.
In accordance with the programme of Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen’s government, Finland’s long-term objective is a carbon-neutral society. In order to reach this objective, and based on the government’s strategies, the preparation of a roadmap towards the year 2050 will already begin this year in terms of improving energy efficiency and increasing the use of renewable energy forms. This is aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80 per cent by the year 2050.
“Finland can be proud that we are on the right track for reaching all the energy and climate objectives. We are among the leading countries in Europe in sustainable energy solutions,” said Jan Vapaavuori, Minister of Economic Affairs, after the meeting.
The work on the strategy update has taken into consideration the position concerning the strategy from the year 2008 whereby cost-efficiency, increased energy self-sufficiency, and the securing of a reasonably priced electricity supply should be emphasized in the fulfilment of the energy and climate obligations. The new strategy includes a mineral oil reduction programme with a target of reducing the share of oil from Finland’s gross energy consumption to below 17 per cent. In 2011 the share was 24 per cent, which is already one of the lowest figures in the industrialised countries.
Among other things, the strategy update outlines Finland’s positions on the EU’s energy and climate policy after the year 2020, energy efficiency, preparations for additional reductions in emissions, additional measures required for the promotion of renewable energy, the use of peat, the development of the European and national energy market, achieving self-sufficiency in electricity supply, and questions related to district heating.
The strategy also outlines clean energy measures up to the year 2025 that can further reduce emissions from energy production, housing and traffic, while also creating new technology exports.
The EU’s current emission reduction objective that is set for the year 2020 is not sufficient with the so-called two degree warming target. Finland supports the EU’s decision according to which it is ready to increase its emission reduction objective to 30 per cent for the year 2020 if other industrialised countries commit to comparable emission reductions and the major emerging economies participate according to their abilities in sufficient emission reduction measures. The post-2020 emission reduction objectives should be in line with the two-degree target. Finland is preparing for the debate about setting the 2030 emission reduction target.
Greenhouse gas emissions will fall strongly by the year 2025
According to the latest figures from Statistics Finland, Finland’s greenhouse gas emissions in 2011 were 66.8 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents. The reduction from 2010 was 7.7 million tonnes. The emissions in 2011 are about 6 per cent below the Kyoto protocol target level. Within the EU’s internal burden sharing, Finland was set the obligation, in accordance with the protocol, to regularize the average national emissions in 2008–2012 to the 1990-level. In the period 2008–2011, the emissions have been about 1.5 per cent below this level.
According to the scenarios and based on the current decisions, Finland will be on a track in 2025 that will lead to an 80 per cent reduction in emissions by the year 2050. The strategy does not take a position yet on the additional measures that will be necessary after 2025 in order to keep the emission reductions on a linear track towards the 80–95 per cent target accepted by the European Council for the year 2050.
38 per cent target for renewable energy will be reached
Finland’s target of 38 per cent of energy from renewable sources in its gross final consumption is about to be reached. The use of renewable energy is increasing in advance which means that Finland will exceed its annual minimum targets for the whole of the 2010s. Finland has doubled the 10 per cent renewable energy obligation for vehicle fuel set by the EU to 20 per cent. The fulfilment of the target has been assured through legislation regarding the fuel mix disclosure obligation.
In the 2008 strategy, the target for wind power construction was set at 6 TWh of production by the year 2020. Reaching this target requires the resolution of non-economic obstacles related to wind power construction.
According to the strategy update, wind power construction will be speeded up by developing planning and permit processes, and consequently the granting of permits. At the same time the production target for 2025 is set at about 9 TWh. A demonstration project for sea wind power has been reserved a separate subsidy of EUR 20 million in the government’s spending limit decision in December 2012.
Estimated electricity use in 2020 has been cut to 94 TWh
In the 2008 strategy, total electricity consumption in 2020 was estimated to be 98 TWh. Due to the economic situation and structural developments, and as a result of the energy measures that have already been decided, the energy consumption in 2020 is forecast to be 94 TWh. Last year electricity consumption was 85.2 TWh. The record year was 2007, when about 90.4 TWh of electricity was consumed.
Finland is still not self-sufficient in electricity production and is strongly dependent on imported electricity during the coldest winter months. This situation will continue until the Olkiluoto 3 power plant starts operating. Even after that Finland’s power adequacy will be weaker than what European targets require. Self-sufficiency will be reached in the 2020s when the nuclear power plant units that have been granted permits in principle commence operations and when the production of renewable energy increases.
Target for gross final electricity consumption in 2010 is 310 TWh
The growth in gross final energy consumption will be cut by improving energy efficiency so that in 2020 the consumption will be 310 TWh at the most. In 2010 gross consumption was 323 TWh. The target figure in the strategy update is the same as in the 2008 strategy, but due to changes in statistical processes by Statistics Finland, the newly set target is 11 TWh tougher than the one set in 2008.
With the implementation of the EU energy efficiency directive that came into force in December 2012, there will be numerous entries in the strategy update concerning energy efficiency. An energy efficiency law will be prepared in Finland for the implementation of the directive as well as an implementation plan in accordance with the directive. There will also be a long-term strategy for improving the energy efficiency of buildings and an energy saving plan for central government administration buildings. Municipalities’ energy saving plans will be developed and a study will be conducted about the possibility of a compliance programme for energy companies. The objective is also to promote the creation and growth of the international energy efficiency business.
Esa Härmälä, Director-general, Ministry of Employment and the Economy, tel. 029 506 4700
Pete Pokkinen, Special Adviser to the Minister of Economic Affairs, tel. 040 756 7180