Part 1: Finnish And Swedish Strongholds In Renewable Energy

    15_12_5_thumbLet’s take a short overview on Nordic strongholds and current renewable energy promotion instruments in these countries. We are happy to start with Finland and Sweden, which have some similarities (and differences) together.

    Over 60 per cent of Nordic electricity production and about one third of Finland’s electricity generation is based on renewable energy sources: hydro, bio-fuels and wind. For next years, wind power is central growth area for Nordic countries to meet EU’s goal to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. By now, wind power plants have been build mainly on coastlines. In the next phase, numerous wind power plants will be constructed offshoe. Hydropower is important as natural regulating power to wind generation in Nordic countries. Becouse wind speeds are not constant, regulating power is needed to compensate for fluctuation in wind power production. (Please look at Fortum’s Technology Brochure)

    Finland: A huge potential for improved Renewable Energy Promotion model

    Finland has around 1 300 cleantech enterprices with an annual growth rate clearly above the GDP (please see a link for a Study Taloustutkimus for Sitra, 2007 and a presentation by Jukka Noponen, Programme Director for Sitra).

    In Finland, the share of renewable energy of total energy production in 2007 was 25 per cent based mainly on wood fuels, hydro and other (like wind).  Based on strong Finnish pulp and paper industry, wood is been the most important renewable energy source in Finland: accounting for over 80 per cent of renewable energy sources. Finnish pulp and paper mills produce much of their own energy from black liqour, a wood based material waste from the manufacturing process. For next years, forest biomass has an important role in achieving EU’s target in Finland, becouse the increase of hydropower is strictly regulated and the space for large-scale utilization for wind power in limited. For instance, Finnish forest and energy industry are developing so called second-generation biofuels from wood-based raw materials.  

    The national goal for the share of renewable energy for Finland is among the highest in Europe, 38 per cent by 2020.  Fulfilling this obligation require a significant increase in Finland’s use of wood-based energy, waste fuels, heat pumps, biogas and wind energy during next years. Due to missing economic incentives for renewable energy promotion (only premium tariffs and investment subsidies up to 30 million euros annually), the share of renewable energy has not increased considerably in Finland during past years. Existing model should strongly reinforced in order to meet future domestic targets for renewable energy. The Finnish government lately introduced a plan for a fixed feed-in tariff for wind power, effective from 2010. In addition, there have been talks on tariff introduction also for biogas.

    Sweden: Ambitious target to cut oil dependency by 2020

    Sweden has around 3.600 cleantech companies emloying around 46.000 people with an annual turnover around 8 – 10 billion euros. (Swentec, Cleantech in numbers 2007)

    In Sweden, the share for renewable energy is very high, almost 40 per cent in 2005 and Sweden uses the highest proportion of renewable energies among the EU countries. Like in Finland, wood fuels and hydro power are the most important renewable energy sources followed by distributen energy production sources heat pumps, organic waste, bio-based transportation fuels and wind power. The country has pursued very active energy policy. Sweden has set the target to cut its oil dependency, without building any more nuclear power plants, by setting national goal for the share of renewable energy 49 per cent by 2020. 

    The state support to the field of clean energy has a long history in Sweden, providing an opportunity to test and develop products which are not yet commercial. Energy in Sweden has been taxed since 1950s and it is impossed all fossil fuels in the areas of electricity, heating and transport (please see Svenska Bioenergiföreningen). Today, the most wide reaching taxation measures are for instance carbon dioxide tax. Swedish carbon dioxide tax is for all fossil fuels, which has made the use of biofuels very popular in Sweden. For instance, more than 60 per cent of district heating fuel is based on biomass. Thanks for state investment grants, many households in Sweden take a usage of organic waste-to energy systems and other distributed energy generation systems like heat pumps, pellet boilers,  bio-based motor fuels and wind power.

    Other speciality in Sweden is Electricity certificate system , which is a market-based support system to promote of production of electricity from renewable energy sources. The system was introduced in 2003 and has stimulated especially biomass based generation. The target is to increase renewable energy production by 17 TWh by 2016 (compared to 2002).  For next years, this will most probable stimulate Swedish wind power prodution.

    PS. Please let us know if there is any specific area (or technology) of cleantech You would love to read or to get more detailed information? We highly appreciate and invite Your feedback.