Finland updates its energy and climate strategy

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Posted on: 21 Feb 2013

Finland has updated national energy and climate strategy with main objective to ensure that the targets for energy consumption and climate set for 2020 are achieved.

20 February 2013 Photo: Fingrid Finland updates its energy and climate strategy Finnish government's ministerial working group on energy and climate policy has finalized the updated national energy and climate strategy. Its main objective is to ensure that the targets for energy consumption and climate set nationally for 2020 are achieved and to prepare the way towards long-term energy and climate targets. The updated strategy will be submitted in the weeks to come, in the form of a government report for consideration by the Finnish Parliament, at which time it will enter the public domain. Under Prime Minister Katainen's Government Program, Finland's long-term objective is a carbon- neutral society. To achieve this aim, a strategy-based roadmap will start to be drawn up this year, towards better energy efficiency and increased use of renewable forms of energy by the year 2050. The goal is to cut greenhouse gas emissions in this way by at least 80 percent by 2050. "Finland can be proud that we are on the right track to achieving all our energy and climate targets," said Minister of Economic Affairs Jan Vapaavuori. "We are one of the leading countries in the EU in the area of sustainable energy solutions." The strategy review takes account of Parliament's position on the 2008 strategy: in meeting energy and climate targets, there needs to be an emphasis on the importance of cost-effectiveness, greater self-sufficiency in energy, and a reliable and steady supply of electricity at a reasonable price. The new strategy incorporates a program to reduce the use of mineral oils, the objective being that oil should account for less than 17 percent of Finland's total energy consumption. In 2011, that figure was 24 percent, which is one of the lowest numbers among industrialized countries today. The strategy also lays down policy on clean energy measures, extending until 2025 and aimed at further reducing emissions from energy production, housing, and traffic, and, at the same time, establishing the export of new technology. Finland supports tighter EU emission goal The updated strategy being drawn up states Finland's position on the EU's energy and climate policy beyond 2020, including energy efficiency, the prospect of further cuts in emissions, the additional measures required for promoting renewable energy, the use of peat, trends in the European and Finnish energy markets, safeguards on electricity self-sufficiency, and issues relating to district heating systems. The EU's present target to cut emissions for 2020 is not consistent with the 'two degree' warming target. Finland supports the EU decision that states it is prepared to bring down the emissions reduction target of 30 percent by 2020? as long as the other industrialized countries commit to similar emission cuts and the main fast-growing economies also take adequate action to do the same, where possible. Emission reduction targets post-2020 must be in line with the two degree objective. Finland is preparing for the debate on setting the emission reduction target for 2030. Deep emission cuts by 2025, on track to 2050 Figures recently released by Statistics Finland suggest that Finland's greenhouse gas emissions in 2011 were the equivalent of 66.8 million tonnes of carbon dioxide. That was a fall of 7.7 million tonnes compared to the previous year. Emissions in 2011 were around 6 percent below the Kyoto Protocol target. Under the EU's burden- sharing system, Finland has an obligation, based on Kyoto, to stabilize its emissions in the period 2008-2012 at 1990 levels on average. In the period 2008-2011, emissions averaged out at about 1.5 percent below this level. Prepared scenarios suggest that Finland is in 2025 on track, thanks to the decisions currently in place, that will lead to a reduction in emissions of 80 percent by the year 2050. The strategy does not adopt a position on the further measures that will be needed beyond 2025 to ensure that the decrease in emissions remains on a linear path towards the 80-95 percent target for 2050 adopted by the European Council. Deployment of renewables front-loaded Finland's 38 percent renewable energy target for final energy consumption for 2020 is being met. The increase in renewable deployment in Finland is front-loaded: in other words, the country is exceeding the annual minimum targets set by the EU for the whole present decade. Finland doubled its 10 percent target for renewable energy for fuels used in transport, as imposed by the EU, by means of a decision taken nationally to raise the target to 20 percent. The achievement of the target is guaranteed by legislation on the biofuel obligation scheme. In the 2008 strategy, the target for wind power was the equivalent of the production of six terawatt hours (TWh) per year by 2020. But to achieve that, solutions will have to be found to address obstacles other than those merely relating to finance. The updated strategy makes proposals for the construction of wind power plants that extend to improved design and permit procedures. At the same time, the production target for 2025 is set at approximately 9 TWh a year. In its framework decision of December 2012, the Government set aside EUR20 million in special assistance for an offshore wind power demonstration project in 2015. Electricity usage lower than earlier estimated Overall consumption of electricity in the 2008 strategy was estimated at 98 TWh by 2020. Trends in the economic situation and structure, as well as measures on energy that have been enforced, have meant that electricity consumption is predicted to be at the 94 TWh level in 2020. Consumption last year was 85.2 TWh. The record was in 2007, at 90.4 TWh. Finland is still not self-sufficient in electricity consumption, and is heavily dependent on imported electricity during the coldest winter months. That situation will continue until the Olkiluoto 3 nuclear power unit starts operations. Thereafter, self-sufficiency will remain short of European targets, but will be achieved in the 2020s, when the nuclear power plant units, having received their permits in principle, start operating, and renewable electricity generation increases. Energy efficiency starts to cut final energy usage The increase in final energy consumption will start to ease off with improved energy efficiency, and by 2020, consumption will be no more than 310 TWh. In 2010, overall consumption was 323 TWh. The target figure in the revised strategy is the same as that in the 2008 strategy, though changes in the way Statistics Finland compiles statistics mean that the target to be set now is 11 TWh more stringent than in 2008. The implementation of the Energy Efficiency Directive that entered into force in December 2012 means that the updated strategy will have numerous entries relating to energy efficiency. To implement the Directive, an Energy Efficiency Act and an energy efficiency implementation plan under the Directive are being drafted for Finland. In addition, a long-term strategy to improve the energy efficiency of buildings and an energy savings plan for buildings used by Central Government are being drawn up. Plans for energy efficiency on the part of local authorities are also being developed, and the possibility of a programme of commitment for energy companies is being looked into. The aim is to promote the creation and growth of international energy efficiency business. Related: Renewables and energy efficiency - Finland's main tools to combat climate change
Posted: 21 February 2013

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