November 24, 2016

Finland makes a move towards sustainable future

A 30 per cent increase in the use of bikes and walking is included in the strategy.
A 30 per cent increase in the use of bikes and walking is included in the strategy.
istock.com/Marcus Lindström

Finland has announced it is reducing its dependency on fossil import fuels by half and is banning the use of coal in power generation by 2030.

This would make Finland the first industrialised country in the world to ban coal power.

“We are making a determined move towards a cleaner energy system in Finland,” says the minister of foreign trade and development Kai Mykkänen. “This has required a total shift in our thinking of what could and should be the sources of energy and how our transportation and power system should be structured.”

The target to reduce import oil will bring massive reductions in emissions.

Both of the measures create room for investment in renewable energies. Decreasing the amount of import oil will also require significant changes in the whole transport system. The strategy foresees 250 000 electric cars – or a tenth of the country’s car fleet – on Finnish roads by 2030.

Determined measures will be taken to change the transportation system as a whole to create a more service-based mobility and easier access to public transport. A 30 per cent increase in the use of bikes and walking is included.

The 250 000 electric cars will not suffice to ensure Finland will reach its greenhouse gas target of 39 per cent, to which it is committed under the overall EU effort to reduce emission. Therefore, the Finnish government has decided to increase the share of biofuels blended in liquid fuels to 30 per cent by 2030.

“There are many biofuel refinery investments being planned in Finland now,” Mykkänen points out. “As raw materials these would use waste and side-products of the forest industry, which cannot be used for the production of more value-added wood-derived products such as pulp, paper, logs for houses or modern wood-based composite materials.”

The minister of economic affairs Olli Rehn agrees with Mykkänen’s view of the future.

“We are facing a global and fundamental change in energy economics,” Rehn says. “We are building a lasting bridge to fully emission-free and carbon neutral energy economics in Finland in 2050.”

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