On November 30, 2016, the Finnish Government began discussing its approved National Energy and Climate Strategy that was released on November 24th. “National Energy and Climate Strategy to 2030,” outlines the country’s strategies and gives detailed actions that will be undertaken for the country to reach European Union (EU) climate objectives through 2030 as well as to help Finland to meet its Paris Climate Change Agreement. The biggest action, and the first of its kind for any country, is the complete phasing out of coal during the 2020s. A proposal on how to accomplish this goal will be prepared and may include the recommendations of “strong tax steering” or “legally prohibiting the use of coal” may be offered.
“We are facing a global and fundamental change of the whole energy economy. The National Energy and Climate Strategy adopted by the Finnish Government today is our response to this serious challenge,” said Minister of Economic Affairs Olli Rehn during a press conference to unveil the plan.
Finnish Government unveiling its National Energy and Climate Strategy during a press event. Photo Credit: Finnish Government
Also on hand for the press event were Minister of Agriculture and the Environment Kimmo Tiilikainen, Minister of Transport and Communications Anne Berner, Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Kai Mykkänen, and Minister of Justice and Employment Jari Lindström who presented the high-level strategies and objectives.
According to the report, the share of renewable energy of total energy consumption will increase to more than 50 percent in the 2020s. With this in mind, the overall goal of the energy plan is for Finland’s energy system to become carbon neutral with the majority of energy provided by sustainable, low carbon renewable sources. The energy plan outlines several measures to reduce GHG emissions in sectors outside of emissions trading with the majority in land and air transportation. In addition, the country’s large amount of biomass, or waste wood, will be a key feedstock to meet renewable energy goals.
Specific to biofuels, the country’s use of imported oil as well as jet fuel and kerosene will be cut in half during the 2020s as compared to the total energy consumption of 2005. This includes a transition away from fossil energy in the transport, heating and machinery sectors. According to energy plan, the percentage of biofuel in fuels sold to road transport will be increased to 30 percent by 2030.
With the increased role of biofuels, the report finds that there will also be an increase in the use of forest-industry by-products and forest chips. However, the plan states that raw material suitable for the wood processing industry will not be used for energy production and the plan calls for sustainability programs to be put in place to preserve the forests.
Also of note, in an effort to support the conversion to renewable energy, the energy plan calls for investment subsidies that will mainly be focused on commercializing new technologies especially those producing advanced biofuels for the transportation sector and technologies that use waste as feedstocks will also be supported.