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Renewable energy overtakes fossil fuels in EU electricity production: CO2 emissions fall – Taloussanomat

Already 85 percent of Finland’s electricity is emission-free.

Last year, for the first time in the EU, renewable energy produced more electricity than fossil fuels. In Finland, the share of renewable energy sources in electricity production is even higher than the EU average.

In the EU countries, renewable energy sources accounted for 38% of electricity production last year. Renewable energy sources include wind, solar, hydropower and bioenergy. Fossil fuels, ie coal, natural gas and oil, produced 37 percent of electricity.

Finland produced more electricity from renewables than the EU average. According to the Finnish Energy Industry Association, renewable energy accounted for 51 per cent of Finland’s electricity production, nuclear power for 34 per cent and fossil and peat for a total of 14 per cent.

The goal is carbon neutrality in Finland in 2035 and in the EU in 2050. Energy production is a major source of greenhouse gas emissions, so the clean-up of electricity will help to achieve this goal.

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The website of the University of Oxford and the Global Change Data Lab tells about electricity generation in the EU Our World in Data. The data are based on statistics from the climate research organization Ember.

Naistenlahti is moving to renewables

For example, the Tampere Power Plant’s Naistenlahti power plant aims for more sustainable energy production. The frame of a new boiler building is currently being erected on the shore of Lake Näsijärvi in ​​the area of ​​the power plant. The new unit will increase renewable energy sources and reduce CO2 emissions.

In the current Naistenlahti 2 unit, half of the fuel is still milled peat. Half are biofuels, which, however, cannot be increased with the current boiler. It will be replaced by a new unit that will be put into commercial operation at the end of next year.

– The energy source of the new power plant is forest biomass. These include, for example, wood chips and crushed stone, various by-products of the forest industry, such as bark and recycled wood classified as biomass. We are also pending an environmental permit application that should use solid waste-derived recycled fuels such as slightly dirtier demolition wood, lists the project manager Erkki Suvilampi.

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Until ten years ago, a power plant produced nearly a million tons of carbon emissions a year, and natural gas was the most important fuel. Thanks to previous investments and a new unit of EUR 160 million, emissions will be reduced to as much as 50,000 tonnes in 2030. Naistenlahti produces both electricity and district heating.

Wind and solar power on the rise

The growth of renewable energy in Europe is partly due to the almost doubling of wind and solar power after 2015. They produce one-fifth of the electricity. Solar and wind power are particularly popular in Denmark, where they account for 61%.

Of fossil fuels, the use of coal in electricity generation has halved in five years and was 13 percent last year. Poland is in the lead in this respect, where coal still accounted for 70%.

However, according to Ember, the use of coal is declining too slowly to meet the EU’s carbon neutrality target.

In Finland, the share of coal in electricity production is only four per cent, and its use as an energy source has been banned since May 2029.

Finland’s good investment in renewable energy is due to many factors, says Aalto University’s professor of technical physics and member of the Finnish climate panel Peter Lund. These include the common Nordic electricity market, where more than half of the electricity is hydropower. A lot of bioenergy comes from the forest industry. In addition, wind power has commercialized rapidly and does not need financial support.

– The long economic recession since 2008 and the consequent lean growth have also contributed to the lack of energy consumption. Old nuclear power also has a downward effect on emissions.

President of the Finnish Energy Industry Association Jukka Leskelä According to Finland, wind power is the newest entrant, but its share is growing rapidly.

– No matter how much potential there is and projects are underway both on land and at sea. Wind power may account for up to a third of Finland’s electricity production in 2030.

Carbon emissions reduced

As fossil fuels recede, CO2 emissions from electricity generation have declined rapidly. In Finland, 85% of electricity is emission-free, including renewables and nuclear power. In the rest of the EU, the average clean electricity production is just over 60%.

Finland produces the third lowest carbon emissions of the EU countries, 67 grams per kilowatt hour. Sweden and France are still ahead, and Austria and Slovakia are also doing well.

According to Lund, it is possible that the electricity sector in Finland will be almost emission-free by the end of the 2020s.

– The law requires the abandonment of coal, peat is now being abandoned and the price of emission rights is rising. Nordic electricity is also becoming emission-free and is cheap. Wind power is also growing strongly. All of these weigh on emissions from electricity generation toward zero.

It will be more difficult to achieve the targets, for example, in those countries where the economy is still carbon-intensive and withdraw from the Soviet era.

– The EU needs climate solidarity, ie economic aid to poorer member states, while maintaining sufficiently challenging targets. Otherwise, there is a danger that targets will be compromised when reducing emissions seems too difficult. There is, of course, funding in the European Green Development Program that can help here.

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