Government report calls for 10% yearly increase in renewables

With Finland facing a severe shortage in indigenous energy supplies within ten years -- production from oil and coal is forecast to decline dramatically while its heavy industry is dependent on access to cheap and plentiful supplies of electricity -- investment in renewables should be significantly ramped up to ensure the sector meets a 2010 target to provide at least 33% of its own electricity needs. "Ideally, the combined production from new wind power, biomass, biogas, solar and geothermal heat units should increase by ten per cent a year," says the government's Strategic Preliminary Report on Energy. The draft report, compiled by a working group commissioned by the trade and industry ministry, examines the problems facing the government's climate change and energy policies. Calling for a renewed commitment from the Finnish state to promote public and private sector investments in renewables, it says: "Finland will need a higher base electricity production capacity by 2015. Electricity demand in Finland is expected to grow by 300 MW a year. The increase should be met by building own production capacity as imports cannot be relied on in exceptional circumstances." As well as renewables, increased production from natural gas is advocated, while the door is left open to the possibility of building a sixth nuclear power plant. Amid much controversy, Finland is now building its fifth nuclear plant, a 1600 MW unit in the southwest of the country, due online in 2009. It will be the world's largest nuclear generation block. No low emission or cost-efficient forms of production should be excluded when planning for and building new electricity generating capacity, says the government report. Finland's current goal for wind power is to increase its contribution to energy supplies from today's 1% to 5% by 2012.

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