Renewables poised to dethrone fossil fuels in Finnish energy production

Renewable energy is estimated to soon overtake fossil fuels in the Finnish energy supply, a new report by Finland’s Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment says.

In 2015, fossil fuels accounted for 37% of total consumption whereas renewable energy and fuels made up 35% of the total, and the portion is expected to keep growing.

“A historic turn will soon take place,” said Markku Alm, branch manager at the Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment for Southwest Finland.

“It may well be that after the statistics for 2016 have been calculated, renewables may surpass fossil fuels in the total energy supply,” he told the Helsingin Sanomat newspaper.

Woody biomass made up a lion’s share of total renewables consumption at 73%, followed by hydro (13%) and wind power (2%), while in transport biofuels contributed 5% to the total.

According to Alm, power plant projects currently under construction are projected to increase the share of biomass in energy production significantly.

“Woody biomass forms the core of the Finnish energy production industry,” he said.

At the end of 2015, approximately 1,200 companies were involved in energy production in Finland, 90% of them small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) employing less than ten people.

The industry’s net revenue increased by 7% to €2.6 billion from 2014, with 49% of the total revenues coming from SMEs.

Alm pointed out that the number of SMEs in renewables is extraordinarily high when compared to other Finnish industries.

In total, renewable energy production employs nearly 5,900 people, which marks a significant decrease from the record of 9,100 achieved in 2011.

Investment in the industry has increased greatly in the last few years, and in 2015 renewables companies invested approximately €500 million.

This article was written by Ilari Kauppila, deputy editor at Bioenergy Insight

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