September 30, 2012

Finland may be first European country to halt coal use

Finland may phase out the use of coal in energy production by 2025, the first European country to do so, Economy Minister Jyri Haekaemies said.

“I think we could set a target for Finland phasing out coal use as the first country in Europe, for instance by 2025,” Haekaemies said yesterday, according to minutes from a parliamentary debate published on Parliament’s website.

Government subsidies and taxes seek to boost the use of renewable energy and cut fossil fuel use by 2020, according to the national climate and energy strategy drawn up by the former government in 2008. The policy document will be revised and updated by the end of this year, Haekaemies said.

“Investments into renewable energy will play a key role” in the updated policy, he said. “All the imported energy which we can replace with domestic energy sources not only creates jobs, but also cuts emissions and improves our current account.”

Finland imports all of its coal, mainly from Russia and Poland. During the past 15 years, Finland has shipped in an average of 5 million metric tons of coal annually. Imports of the mineral cost 70 million to more than 300 million euros ($388 million), according to the Finnish Coal Info association’s website.

Fortum Oyj, Finland’s biggest power producer, operates the country’s largest coal-fired station, the 920-megawatt Inkoo plant on the south coast. It also has a share in the 565- megawatt Meri-Pori plant on the west coast. It was commissioned in 1994 and is one of the cleanest and most effective coal-fired power plants in the world, according to the company’s website.


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