Finland to marginalise coal power

The Finnish government says it will almost completely phase out coal-fired power generation by 2030, and increase carbon taxes.

The government plans to increase its reliance on nuclear power but will also continue to reserve some coal in order to maintain energy security.

“This strategy has a goal of getting rid of coal as an energy source by 2030 … We have to write a law … and that will be next year,” Riku Huttunen, director general in Finland‘s energy department, said.
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Coal produces roughly 10 percent of the energy consumed by Finland, which is the Nordics’ heaviest coal consumer and burned about 4.1 million tonnes of oil equivalent in 2016.

The law will, however, leave “room for manoeuvre” to ensure security of supply, Huttunen said, meaning coal-fired power plants could still be available to avoid the risk of blackouts.

Finland is increasing its nuclear capacity but the stability of Finland’s power system will be under pressure as coal is more flexible than other forms of energy, a Thomson Reuters analyst said.

Helsinki is raising its nuclear power capacity to reduce dependency on Russian energy imports. Two new reactors, Olkiluoto 3 and Hanhikivi 1, are due to go online in 2018 and 2024, respectively.

The owner of Hanhikivi 1, Fennovoima, has said the project is on track, but Huttunen, the government official, said the schedule may be “enthusiastic” given that the company had yet to submit several documents regarding safety and economy.à‚ 

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