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The largest solar power plant in Finland is operated by Helen in Suvilahti, Helsinki. Solar power and other small-scale energy production has yet to be included in the national energy statistics maintained by Statistics Finland.The ongoing preparatory work to re-evaluate the sustainability criteria of the European Union for solid biomass could have disastrous consequences for Finland, warns Ahti Martikainen, the director of communication and public affairs at Vapo.

The preparatory work could ultimately result in the re-designation of wood-based biomass as a non-renewable source of energy. “It may sound rather insignificant, but a review of the renewable energy production of Finland suggests the consequences can be quite dramatic,” Martikainen writes on the blog of the state-owned producer of peat and wood-based fuels.

He points out that wood-based fuels accounted for 25 per cent and hydro-power only for 5 per cent of the total energy consumption of Finland in 2014. Wood energy, therefore, represents a significant portion of the renewable energy consumed in Finland.

“If wood was to be even partly classified as non-renewable, Finland would be downgraded from a leading country to one bringing up the rear in renewable energy production in Europe,” Martikainen warns.

Mika Anttonen, the chairman of the executive board at St1, has similarly drawn attention to the perils of the revisions drawn up by the European Union. He voiced his hope in an interview with Uusi Suomi last week that officials and policy-makers “for once” stood up for Finland.

“Our officials and policy-makers should look in the mirror before blaming others for the lack of competitiveness. This is their chance to promote competitiveness,” he argued.

St1 produces bio-ethanol from sawdust.

His demands to safeguard national interests are echoed by Martikainen.

“We've seen many times how central EU countries play into their own hands as long as they can. We must hope and trust that the Finnish Government has been informed about the [proposed] changes in sustainability criteria. If wood is included in the emissions trading scheme, it would undermine the Government's spearhead projects in bioeconomy,” says Martikainen.

He also estimates that it is incomprehensible how little discussion the issue has stirred up in Finland.

“This would be a notch above the news about the ongoing, or newly-suspended, talks for a social contract or the costs of hundreds of millions of euros arising from the mass migration to Europe,” he states.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Photo: Martti Kainulainen – Lehtikuva
Source: Uusi Suomi

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