The World Energy Council's Finland Member Committee was founded in 1993 as a co-operation body for various companies and organisations in the energy sector. World Energy Council Finland is a leading platform for energy producers, users and technology providers facilitating the energy policy dialogue and finding new strategic insights.
In order to achieve this aim World Energy Council Finland organises various high-level events and activities. Co-operation activities include regular seminars as well as organising one of the biggest annual energy industry events. It also provides prices indexes for heavy fuel oil and coal. In addition, World Energy Council Finland annually awards the best master’s thesis in fields of energy technology and energy economics in co-operation with Finnish Energy Economists.
Carita Ollikainen is the Chair of World Energy Council Finland. She is also the Head of Corporate Relations at Valmet Oyj, the leading global developer and supplier of process technologies, automation and services for the pulp, paper and energy industries. In addition to being the Chair of World Energy Council Finland, Mrs. Ollikainen is the Vice Chair of the EU and Trade Committee of the Confederation of Finnish Industries.
Vesa Vuolle has served as the Secretary of the Finnish Member Committee of the World Energy Council since 2020. He holds a MSSC from University of Helsinki and a BA from Tampere University of Applied Sciences, where he studied the national implementation of the Renewable Energy Directive 2 in Finland. Vuolle previously worked at the Ministry of Finance and Prime Minister’s Office as well as Helsinki EU Office in Brussels.
Energy in Finland
Comparing 2019 and 2020 results, Finland’s energy leaders perceive certain impactful issues with much higher uncertainty. These are clearly defined around the country’s energy mix and energy security concerns. While efforts are being made to increase domestic energy production, dependence on imports is a matter of concern.
Russia remains the top Critical Uncertainty for Finland’s energy leaders. The activation of an additional gas pipeline connection between Estonia and Finland (scheduled for early 2020), together with the existing connection to the Lithuanian LNG terminal are expected to lessen full dependence on direct Russian gas imports. Delays affecting the sixth nuclear power plant project, partly commissioned by Russian companies, may also be driving high uncertainty.
Nuclear grows in uncertainty and impact. In addition to the Olkiluoto nuclear power plant project, which is now 10 years behind schedule, nuclear has garnered more attention, especially with construction of the world’s first underground nuclear waste disposal facility. The plant is being built on Olkiluoto island as a solution to the accumulation of nuclear waste in Finland. Discussions about the possibility of building small nuclear reactors are also on-going.
EU Cohesion is perceived with greater uncertainty as Finland approaches the end of its EU Council presidency and as it remains tied to on-going lobbying to keep forestry a national competence. The majority of Finland’s renewable energy is based on biomass. The country’s resistance to the EU position on the use of biomass highlights the importance of forestry for the state economy.
Climate Framework becomes a Critical Uncertainty. Priority issues to Finland’s Presidency of the EU Council include consolidation of the Union’s long-term climate strategy and reaching a common understanding on an emissions reduction roadmap. The Finnish government has set very ambitious climate targets (e.g. carbon neutrality by 2035 and a coal ban by 2029). However, actual measures to reach those targets are still unclear.
Renewable Energies remain an Action Priority but with much higher uncertainty. According to Statistics Finland, the amount of electricity produced from fossil fuels and peat grew by 14% in 2018, while the share of renewable energy in the mix fell. This is attributed to a weak Nordic hydro output year, requiring substitution with fossil fuels and peat for power production. Still, the share of wind power has been steadily higher than coal power since the winter of 2018-2019.
Biofuels are perceived as an Action Priority, similarly to last year. Finnish companies are at the forefront of biofuel technologies. The sector is stimulated by government initiatives such as a legislation passed in 2019 aimed at increasing the share of biofuels for road traffic to 30% by 2029.
The Finnish energy system is in transition towards carbon neutrality, which has an impact on business models and revenue generation. It also appears that due to technological development and rapid decrease in the cost of renewables, climate action will not become as expensive as it was previously thought. This change will bring threats and opportunities simultaneously.