Finland is setting an example in green transition with its ambitious carbon neutrality targets. The country aims to achieve this feat by 2035 and is working towards decreasing its reliance on fossil fuels in the transportation and industrial sectors. The country is also striving to promote a green economy while ensuring energy security. Finland’s low dependence on fossil fuels is thanks to its nuclear power plants and significant electricity production from biomass, hydro, and wind power. In 2021, fossil fuels accounted for only 36% of its total energy supply, which is significantly less than the IEA average of 70%. Among IEA member nations, only Sweden has a smaller proportion of fossil fuels in its energy mix.
To achieve carbon neutrality, Finland aims to preserve a high percentage of nuclear energy, grow the use of renewable energy in power generation and heat production, enhance energy efficiency, and electrify sectors like industry and transport. The country’s energy strategies also rely heavily on bioenergy, with forestry biomass being a significant source of electricity and heat, and biofuels expected to play a pivotal role in aiding the transport sector’s transition to clean energy. While wood fuels are projected to have a significant role in the short term, the government plans a long-term shift in heating and cooling systems to non-combustion technologies such as heat pumps, geothermal energy, and waste heat recovery.
The Finnish government sees potential in low-emission hydrogen and hydrogen-based fuels over direct electrification for heavy road transport, sea transport, and aviation. Moreover, Finland’s government identifies the production of critical minerals and the battery supply chain as potential areas for economic growth that can concurrently support energy transitions. Finland is endowed with significant cobalt, lithium, nickel, graphite, and other essential mineral reserves, and it is also home to the sole company outside of China that supplies cobalt for batteries powered by lithium. The country also has significant involvement in other areas of the battery supply chain, including the manufacturing of batteries and chargers, as well as battery recycling.
Finland’s energy consumption is relatively high considering the size of its economy, showing the potential for energy efficiency to bolster energy security and decrease emissions in sectors like transport and industry. Therefore, energy efficiency forms a crucial part of Finland’s strategy to achieve its climate targets, cut energy expenses, and enhance energy security. Finland ranked fourth among IEA members in 2020 in terms of government spending on energy R&D as a percentage of GDP. There’s a push to foster new and emerging energy technologies to facilitate energy transitions in sectors and end-uses that are hard to decarbonize, particularly industry and heavy transport.
Overall, Finland is on a bold journey towards carbon neutrality by 2035. The country’s investments and efforts in nuclear and hydropower have put it in a strong position to meet its goals. Additionally, its leadership in several vital energy technologies such as batteries and heat pumps positions Finland as a country poised to make substantial strides in achieving its ambitious carbon neutrality targets while contributing to global efforts in transitioning to a more sustainable energy future.