Renewable energies

Finland relies on renewable energy forms in its energy production. With environmental sustainability becoming increasingly important, the production of renewable energy has been growing at a fast rate. The use of electricity produced from domestic wood, wind and water power sources were increasing in 2012. Wind and water power were increased by a massive 43 %. From 2004, emissions from coal, natural gas and peat have been reduced by nearly 50%. In 2012, the CO2 emissions in the energy sector were reduced by 12%.

In 2012, the share of renewable energy of total energy consumption was estimated to be nearly 28%. The target is that by 2020, 38 % of total energy consumption is covered by renewable energy.

A directive set by the EU, the so called IE-directive, will cause new challenges for old Finnish coal-fired power plants. The directive forces the power plants to cut down emissions including nitrogen oxides, sulphur dioxides and fine particles. Thus, the coal-fired power plants have two options how to tackle this: they must either close down or invest heavily in purification solutions. The first seems more probable due to too big costs of the solutions. The new discharge limits will come to force in 2016 so this is a chance for providers of more environmentally friendly energy production or cost-effective solution systems.


In 2012, bioenergy accounted for 14.9 % of the electricity production in Finland. The use of biofuels replacing oil products in transportation will increase in Finland in the future as several pulp and paper companies and oil processing companies are planning and building new biofuel and biodiesel refineries

Finland is in the top of the world in utilizing wood based fuels. Already, wood fuels’ share of total energy production is 25 % and the share is expected to grow in the future. This is the highest proportion in the world. About half of renewable energy used in Finland is produced by wood. The large-scale production of forest chips from smaller trees and logging residues is increasing faster in Finland than in any other country. In practice,wood is used together with other energy sources such as peat and coal. As the usage increases, there will be more need for imported wood materials as well as technologies assisting utilization of wood in energy production are sought after.


There are over 220 hydropower plants in Finland with a capacity of 3190 MW. Hydropower’s share of Finland’s total energy production ranges from 10 to 15 % depending on the annual water levels.

Hydropower is used to compensate energy during peak loads because it is easily adjustable. There are only a handful of opportunities to further benefit from hydropower as the key rivers are already harnessed and many others are preserved. Opportunities can be found in maintenance and development of more effective equipment.

Wind power

Wind power accounts for only 0.7 % of Finland’s total energy consumption. While it is marginal, the sector has been growing substantially in the last couple of years. In 2012, wind farms produced 492 GWh of electricity. In our neighbor country Sweden, for instance, the figure was almost nine times higher: about 3.5 TWh. By the year 2020, the objective is to increase the amount of power produced from wind to be 6 TWh, meaning a production increase of 2000 MW.

There are many areas in Finland which are suitable for wind power. Sea coast, sea areas, open fields close to sea and high hills are all good locations as there is enough wind. Especially remote areas and farms could benefit from the use of wind by becoming self-sufficient and selling excess production onwards.
The efficiency and competitiveness of wind power plants is growing fast as demand is growing higher. New innovations in power transmission and structures offer solutions for the key issues in wind energy deployment; reliability in harsh environment, growing size of wind turbines and enlarging scale of production facilities.

The Ministry of the Environment informs that Finland has nearly 300 areas that are suitable for wind power production. If all these locations were to be utilized, the Finnish wind power production capacity could grow from the existing 200 megawatts to even 12,600 megawatts. The Northern Ostrobothnia area has the most promising inland sites for the wind power production. Already by the end of 2012, there were publications of plans to increase wind production capacity by 8911 MW of which 2980 MW was planned to be build on sea.

VTT Technical Research Center of Finland has informed that capacity for wind power is increasing rapidly in cold areas of the Earth. According to the recent research, cost-efficient utilization of cold weather wind power is already underway. New innovations and technologies are needed for cold environment enduring solutions.