Renewable energy in FinlandRenewable energy in Finland is one of the biggest success stories of sustainable resources and development in the world. With Finland’s goal of being carbon-neutral by 2035 and focusing on decreased fossil fuel usage, the country may become one of the foremost experts in renewable energy production in the coming years. In turn, the development of renewable resources can potentially help to alleviate the effects of poverty throughout the country.

Finland’s Energy Sources

The predominance of renewable energy in Finland has its roots in the country’s lack of available fossil fuels. Of the energy sources used in 2021, coal made up just 6.2% of Finland’s energy consumption and 4.5% of its electricity production. By contrast, Finland had 19.5% of its electricity production in bioenergy while wood-based fuels accounted for 29.7% of the country’s consumption.

Finland also has an extensive reserve of nuclear energy, which provides 32.9% of the country’s electricity production. This led to Finland having a total renewable energy consumption of 45.76% in 2019. This percentage for Finland is impressive when compared to the 10.42% for the U.S. in the same year.

Finland’s national climate policy aims to reduce the national usage of carbon fuels and make the country carbon-neutral by 2035, with emission reduction targets planned well into 2050. Though Finland has had energy relations with Russia for a long time, the war in Ukraine has forced Finland to consider other alternatives and invest in renewable energy sources such as wind power.

Increasing Energy Efficiency in Finland

As of 2020, 733 million people across the world did not have electricity, and 2.4 billion still use cooking systems that contribute to environmental pollution. The lack of modern energy affordability, noted as energy poverty by the U.N.’s 7th Sustainable Development Goal, affects many low-income countries. Though Finland has an energy poverty rate of 1.9%, and an energy surplus initiated a drop in the price of electricity by 75% in April, the issue of energy poverty is one Finland has taken the initiative to combat. One such recent movement is the Finnish Energy Observatory (FEnO) established in September 2022. FEnO focuses on climate change-related energy issues, with the goal of making a transition to clean energy for all. To do this, it focuses on monitoring key resources on energy challenges in the country, having open discussions with experts in the field and assisting the public and private sectors in Finland.

Another initiative was the ASSIST Project, which started in 2017 and finished in 2020. ASSIST focused its efforts on incorporating consumers into the energy market and designing policies to push against energy issues. A major focus of this was training Home Energy Advisers to provide energy partners and consumers with advice on better energy efficiency. ASSIST has also pushed for efforts to put more vulnerable consumers at ease with the costs of energy efficiency. Within ASSIST’s pilot phase, Finland’s energy savings increased by 3.9%.

In addition, Finland’s recent developments in the field of wind power resulted in the building of 437 wind turbines over the course of 2022. The recent constructions have provided €2.9 billion in investments for Finland, a huge benefit for the country’s economy.

Where Finland Can Go Next

Given the ongoing efforts, renewable energy is on a fast track to being the most prominent energy source in Finland. There are still problems to address, such as issues keeping people from living above the poverty line. However, Finland continues to show that it has the resources and dedication to tackle these issues head-on.

– Kenneth Berends
Photo: Flickr