Finland struggles to shift away from fossil fuels

The amount of energy produced using renewable sources has actually fallen in the last year in percentage terms.

File photo of wind farm at sea / Credit: iStock Photo

Finland is struggling to shift away from fossil fuels and replace coal, natural gas, oil and peat with renewable energy sources.

According to the latest figures from Statistics Finland, the share of renewable energy
sources in electricity production decreased by 1% per cent in 2018.

At the same time, the share of energy production with fossil fuels and peat grew by 14%.

Renewable energy sources, such as hydropower and wind power, accounted for 46.2% of the electricity – that’s down from 47.2% a year before.

Fossil fuels and peat, on the other hand, produced about one fifth of Finland’s electricity, as nuclear power met 32% of the country’s energy needs.

Prime Minister Antti Rinne talks to media on EU issues, Helsinki 15th October 2019 / Credit: Viivi Myllylä, VNK

Trying to meet carbon neutral goals 

Finland hit the global headlines earlier this year when it pledged to become carbon neutral by 2035.

The country is expected to radically reduce its consumption of fossil fuels to achieve that goal, but there has been criticism of the government for having the goals, but without the policy and practical substance in place for how to actually achieve them.

Finnish Prime Minister Antti Rinne (SDP) said recently that ministers will meet in January 2020 for an official climate conference, which will focus on climate policy measures
and a timetable for implementation.

So far the left-leaning coalition government’s budget for 2020 included higher taxes on petrol and some additional funding for environmental measures, but also continued to fund subsidies for carbon-intensive peat burning.