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Piles of coal outside the Hanasaari Power Plant in Helsinki on 26 December 2015. The Finnish government has tabled a proposal to prohibit the use of coal for energy production by 1 May 2029. (Credit: Timo Jaakonaho – Lehtikuva)
Piles of coal outside the Hanasaari Power Plant in Helsinki on 26 December 2015. The Finnish government has tabled a proposal to prohibit the use of coal for energy production by 1 May 2029. (Credit: Timo Jaakonaho – Lehtikuva)

 

The Finnish government re-affirmed its commitment to combating climate change by submitting two legislative proposals to the Parliament on Thursday.

One of the proposals would promote the use of biofuels in transport and that of biogas-fuels in heating and manufacturing. The other, in turn, would prohibit the use of coal for energy production as of 1 May 2029.

“The legislative proposals presented today by the government all strive towards the same goal: to take swifter and more resolute action to combat climate change. In terms of coal, we want to be at the forefront of countries phasing out its use,” tells Kimmo Tiilikainen (Centre), the Minister of the Environment.

Finland has adopted the objective of gradually phasing out the use of fossil fuels for energy production and moving towards an entirely emissions-free energy system. Prohibiting the energy use of coal is the first step on this journey.

The government highlights in its press release that the use of coal for energy production is already decreasing steadily. Prohibiting the energy use of coal altogether, it estimates, would have a major cost impact particularly on the district heating networks of Helsinki and Vaasa, where it would require that investment in replacement technologies are brought forward.

The rest of coal-fired energy plants are to be replaced by 2030.

Fossil fuels were used to produce over 60 per cent of district heat and 30 per cent of electricity in Helsinki in 2017, according to Helen, a producer of electricity and district heating fully owned by the City of Helsinki.

Helen points out in a press release that it began phasing out the use of coal in energy production already in 2015, when it initiated preparations to phase out the coal-fired Hanasaari Power Plant by 2025. It adds, however, that the plants under construction and recently completed will not suffice to satisfy the demand for district heating in Helsinki.

“The first of the replacement power plants are already producing energy,” it says, referring to its pellet and heat pump-powered plants.

“The fastest way to replace coal on large scale is the use of biomass. Prohibiting coal increases the demand for biofuels in Finland. The supply of biofuels is a major question – there is not enough domestic biofuel.”

Helen also estimates that because the investment decisions on replacement production methods must be made over the next two to three years, the replacement investments are unlikely to be too ambitious.

“It will be impossible to take new, developing technologies into consideration in this time frame,” it explains.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Source: Uusi Suomi

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