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The smokestacks of the Hanasaari Power Plant, a coal-fired co-generation plant on Hanasaari, Helsinki, on 22 January, 2016.
The smokestacks of the Hanasaari Power Plant, a coal-fired co-generation plant on Hanasaari, Helsinki, on 22 January, 2016.

 

Kimmo Tiilikainen (Centre), the Minister of the Environment, has revealed that the government has decided to prohibit the use of coal in energy production ahead of schedule in 2029 and encourage energy companies to abandon the fossil fuel already in 2025.

“Greenhouse gas emissions must be reduced much sooner than initially planned to mitigate climate change,” he stated in a press release on Tuesday.

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The Finnish government has committed in its national climate and energy strategy to drafting a bill by the end of the electoral term that specifies a transition period for abandoning the use of coal in energy production by 2030. It recently commissioned an assessment that, as a secondary option, also weighed up the impacts of discontinuing the energy use of coal as early as in 2025.

Tiilikainen said the government is also drafting a subsidy package worth 90 million euros for energy companies that abandon coal by 2025 with a view of promoting investments in renewable energy production. Half of the subsidies, he added, will be targeted at the renewable co-generation of heat and power, and the other half at other technology alternatives to coal.

“Supporting the renewable co-generation of heat and power is a way to guarantee the sufficiency of the electricity production capacity in peak load circumstances,” he argued.

The announcement, as expected, was received unenthusiastically by the energy industry.

Jukka Leskelä, the managing director of Finnish Energy, warned in a press release that “accelerating the phase-down coal use will be costly for the government and ineffective as a climate measure”.

“Resolute EU policy is the best way to mitigate climate change,” he stated, referring to the bloc’s decision earlier this year to expand its emissions trading scheme. “Punishing Finnish power plants, which are superior when it comes to energy efficiency, will lead to considerable unnecessary investments.”

Leskelä also commended the government for recognising the need for a subsidy to support the transition of energy companies.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Photo: Antti Aimo-Koivisto – Lehtikuva
Source: Uusi Suomi

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