Finland needs to redefine its energy priorities and significantly increase investments in wind power, says the country's industry and trade minister, Mauri Pekkarinen. Rejecting a planning application by Russia's United Cable to build a 1000 MW capacity sub sea interconnector between the St Petersburg region and Finland, Pekkarinen says the country needs to become self sufficient in energy production. "Our ability would have been weakened by this cable project as it would discourage Finnish investment in raising indigenous capacity in wind power, hydro-electric and biofuels-fired generation," the minister says. As well as planning for more renewables, Finland needs to "seriously consider" building a sixth nuclear reactor, he adds. "We had estimated a greater contribution from wind power and biofuels. The new electricity generation from wind and biofuels is much lower than projected. Finland still needs to meet its carbon dioxide emissions obligations under the Kyoto agreement," he says. More state initiatives are needed to promote "serious and sustainable investments" in wind power, adds Finland's Green Party, which welcomed the minister's rejection of United Cable's application. "We sincerely hope that United Power cable was a wake up call for this government and that it will now take wind power seriously," says the Green Party's Tarja Cronberg. "We are far behind our neighbouring Nordic countries in producing electricity from wind. We need more cooperation between the state and the private sector."
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