Promoting Sustainable Electricity in Europe
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Promoting Sustainable Electricity in Europe

Challenging the Path Dependence of Dominant Energy Systems

Edited by William M. Lafferty and Audun Ruud

This is a timely and comparative assessment of initiatives to promote renewable electricity sources (RES-E) in eight European countries. Carried out by the ProSus research programme at the University of Oslo in cooperation with leading research institutions in each country, the book focuses on the promotional schemes used to foster RES-E in Austria, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain and Sweden. The book is unique in that it monitors progress on implementing the EU RES-E Directive in relation to the impact of the ‘dominant energy systems’ in each country. Employing notions of ‘path dependency/path creation’, the analysis demonstrates that crucial lessons for promoting RES-E are to be found in the contextual conditions of national and regional settings; conditions that qualify the effects of more general, market-oriented schemes. The conclusions reached are of direct relevance for the ongoing debate as to the most effective policy instruments for achieving sustainable energy and climate policies in Europe.
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Chapter 6: Finland: Big is Beautiful – Promoting Bioenergy in Regional–Industrial Contexts

Paula Kivimaa


Paula Kivimaa* INTRODUCTION Energy has long been an important topic in Finnish political discussions. Energy-intensive industrial production has strongly shaped the powergeneration sector, while the long distances between settlements and a cold climate have necessitated sufficient energy for transport and heating. Energy policy in Finland has been driven by the dual aims of maintaining a low price of electricity for industry and a diverse energy structure for securing supply. Dominant actors strongly believe in centralized electricity production by nuclear, coal-powered and natural-gas plants, although many smaller power plants utilizing peat and biofuels, primarily for heating, also exist. Sufficient power and heat generation have been paramount for the expansion of the Finnish forest industry during the twentieth century. The structure of the industrial sector and its by-products (suitable for producing bioenergy) have shaped the national energy system and energy policy. In 2005 the shares of renewable energy were 25 per cent and 27 per cent of the total energy and electricity consumption (Statistics Finland 2006). In 2003 Finland had the fourth-highest share of renewable energy and the highest share of biomass in the gross production of electricity among the EU-15 Member States (Statistics Finland 2004: 135). The relatively high share of renewable energy is based on the abundance of bioenergy resources and the technological development in the forest industry. Fortyfive per cent of the consumption of renewable energy (including large-scale hydro) is based on black liquor and other concentrated liquors that are mainly by-products of pulp and paper...

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