Challenging the Path Dependence of Dominant Energy Systems
Edited by William M. Lafferty and Audun Ruud
Chapter 6: Finland: Big is Beautiful – Promoting Bioenergy in Regional–Industrial Contexts
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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