Finland is preparing for cleantech era

Dear Reader

Cleantech should consist of knowledge-based products and services that improve operational performance in terms of sustainable development. Typically, cleantech uses limited or zero non-renewable resources and creates significantly less waste than conventional technologies.

There are several signs that commercializing of clean technologies is in stage of moving into mainstream business. The driving forces are climate change, energy security and increasing energy prices. In the energy sector, these factors, are pushing clean technology markets of biomass, biofuels, solar, wind and fuel cells in the extent that cleantech is seen to be a next engine for economic growth.

Each year, substantial new investments in the clean energy and related technologies are made. Global markets of clean energy technologies are currently more than EUR 50 billion. With an annual growth rate of more than 30 percent, the market will quadruple within a decade, according to the Edge research.

Several investment funds are being established, and energy companies, including small and medium size firms, associations and even private persons are becoming more interested in green energy technologies and production.  

Finland has invested in research and development of sustainable energy and environmental technologies since decades, which has resulted in world-class achievements. In a decade, the exports of these technologies have increased many-fold, and amounted to EUR 4 billion in 2007.

Finland aims at continuing in this way, and prepares for expected cleantech revolution by launching several public research and development programs. The goal is to strengthen the basis for new innovative solutions to combat climate change and boost exports. Besides, the Finnish Government plans to allocate resources for commercializing these innovations.

Currently, Finland is working out a long term strategy for climate change prevention that concentrates on promoting renewable fuels, energy efficiency and energy conservation. The strategy should be completed in 2008-2009, and should include a maximum use of existing and new clean energy technologies.

The Report of the Worldwatch Institute, State of the World 2008, makes it clear that our planet and its inhabitants are facing severe environmental challenges. But there are still signs of hope. As documented, the pace and scale of new technology innovations are extraordinary, and most notably, positive business attitudes towards environmental technologies can be identified. To meet challenges set up for the development, extensive global co-operation will be needed.

In this Newsletter and the website, you can read about some Finnish research efforts and success stories on clean energy and environmental technology development. Many of the projects are creating know-how and technologies which can be utilized in combating climate change - globally.

Enjoy your reading!

Lauri Kinnunen

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