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Renewables to provide bulk of Finland's energy next year

Renewable energy sources are set to surpass fossil fuels in Finland as major new plants come online.

Metsä Groupin Äänekosken tehdas.
The Äänekoski bioproduct mill. Image: Sami Karppinen

Finland's energy market is poised to shift into a new gear next year. Renewable energy sources are expected to produce more of the country's energy than fossil fuels, which include oil, coal, natural gas and peat.

"When all the new investments are operating at full capacity, the shift will occur," predicts Markku Alm, Sector Manager of the Southwest Finland Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment (ELY Centre).

"Major investments such as the Äänekoski bioproduct mill and the Naantali multifuel power plant will raise renewable energy's share so much that this shift will occur next year," he says.

Historic turning point in 2018

In 2016, renewable energy accounted for about 34 percent of Finland's overall consumption, with fossil fuels responsible for some 38 percent.

Metsä Fibre CEO Ilkka Hämälä says that his company's Äänekoski plant will raise the nation's renewable energy share by a couple of percentage points per year. It will have a higher impact on electricity usage, raising the renewable share by 2.5 percentage points, he says. Hämälä also estimates that it will add half a billion euros to Finland's export revenues.

The Naantali multifuel power plant, which is owned by Fortum and two Turku-area utility companies, is to go on line late this year, and there are also many new wind turbines under construction.

The government has set a target of 50 percent renewable energy usage by 2030.

Hämälä points out that the key factor in limiting climate change is cutting emissions – and that not all renewables are necessarily effective at doing that.

"In Finland, nuclear energy plays and will continue to play a significant role, both in terms of our energy supply and in fending off climate change," says Hämälä.

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