A model for energy efficiency
Finland's energy needs are high due to the country’s energy-intensive industry, cold climate and long distances. At the same time, Finland’s own energy resources are scarce.
To respond to these needs, developing an efficient energy system has for decades been a high priority in the Finnish energy strategy. The versatile energy system utilizes any viable energy form, and the carbon dioxide emissions are among the lowest in the world - even though nuclear power or hydropower do not figure prominently in the system.
This has been achieved by planning and constructing the system on a network basis – including production, transmission, usage and energy reserves and optimizing the whole system in an efficient and environmentally friendly way - from the very beginning.
For instance, combined heat and power generation makes it possible to achieve a total efficiency of 80–90 percent, or even higher. Fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions are roughly 30 percent less compared to generating heat and power separately.
In 2008, the International Energy Agency (IEA) stated that Finland is the ‘model for the world’ in combined heat and power generation or co-generation with high efficiency and low emissions.
Voluntary efforts to boost energy efficiency
From as early as the 1990s, Finland has employed the voluntary agreement scheme in a drive to promote energy efficiency.
The practical measures boosted by the agreements, such as energy audits and analyses subsidized by the goverment, provide companies and communities with an excellent means of ascertaining their own energy usage and the scope of improving it, as well as integrating improvements in energy efficiency in their daily operation.
The latest energy efficiency agreements for industries, municipal and oil sectors were signed for the period 2008-2016. Additional agreements currently in force are those for goods transport and logistics, public transport and housing sector. The agreemets are under the governance of the related ministries.
In Finland, the largest amount of energy is consumed by intensive industrial production. To respond to this challenge, Finnish companies have voluntary invested near EUR400 million in energy efficiency during the period 1998–2008.
The agreements will play a central role in the national implementation of the EU Energy Services Directive applying to companies that are not part of the emissions trading scheme. The goal is to make their energy consumption 9 percent more efficient by 2016. Moreover, the agreements are a part of the implementation of the EU climate action and renewable energy package.
In homes, improved thermal insulation and innovative home automation systems have decreased energy consumption. For transportation, Finland has created a logistic chain where the specific energy consumption per ton per kilometer is low.
Research and development work and continuous modernisation of the energy system over the decades have brought also Finnish energy technology up to a world-class standard.
The technologies include:
*Combined heat and power generation (CHP) or co-generation
*District heating and cooling
*Automation and environmental measurements
*Smart grids and power electronics.
In addition to energy technologies, Finland has gained important reputation in several sectors of the environmental business including, for example, energy intensive industrial processes and related automation, water and waste management and recycling.
Ministry of Employment and the Economy
Finnish Energy Industries
IEA praises Finland's way to sustainable energy
The International Energy Agency praised Finland for its commitment to a sustainable energy future in a review launched today. The IEA recommended energy efficiency improvements in the transport sector and developing a regional gas market. Finland should also actively contribute to finding a mutually acceptable solution at an EU level regarding the discussion on sustainability criteria for biomass and the development of a robust certification scheme.
Cleantech - a key driver for Finnish economy
Cleantech was one of Finland's fastest-growing business sectors in 2012 - a year of economic downturn. Combined turnover for cleantech companies was EUR24.6 billion and annual growth 15 percent, shows a survey by Cleantech Finland. The companies expect strong growth also in 2013. The majority of cleantech companies get more than half of their turnover from abroad. In 2012, key export markets were Germany, China, Sweden, France and Russia.
Energy turn-around underway in Finnish households
A clear change is taking place in the energy consumption of Finnish households, according to a research program of Academy of Finland. The increasing trend in energy consumption has now levelled out, and for the first time, the amount of energy produced by renewable energy sources and nuclear power has overtaken the use of fossil fuels. The turn-around is a result of decisions on the national level as well as the independent initiation of the use of new energy technologies.
New showcase for climate-friendly action
A new online service to collect and distribute information on climate-friendly action to reduce costs and emissions has been launched in Finland. The service, opened by the Finnish Environment Institute, provides citizens, businesses, organizations and experts with a channel for sharing and acquiring information on a variety of climate-related topics, including the energy efficiency of buildings and renewable energy solutions.
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