Introduction to Finland


Potential Opportunities


Northern Ostrobothnia

Climate strategy

The Climate strategy of Northern Ostrobothnia aims that the county will try to prevent the climate change and to adapt to the effects it will cause. This strategy will bring together the aims of the international and national climate strategies and apply them to the local circumstances and methods in the Northern Ostrobothnia so that the county will also try to cut strongly the greenhouse gas emissions in the future. The main principles are environmental, social and economic sustainability. Climate strategy is implemented so that the measures will improve the wellbeing, quality and standard of life of the local people and that they will provide new business opportunities.


Northern Ostrobothnia is energy intensive county due to northern climate, long transportation distances and the structure of the industry in the area. The degree of self-sufficiency is rather high, over 50% when considering the energy production and consumption of the area (without steel industry). Weakness is, that e.g. industry and traffic is mainly based on fossil fuels. The aims in the future are to strengthen the local, decentralized energy production, to decrease the greenhouse gas emission according to the strategies, and to improve the energy efficiency. This will be done with new openings and by using new technology and by improving the degree of refining of renewable energy sources. The most effective and fast way to decrease the climate change is to improve the energy and material efficiency and to save the energy.


Energy strategy

The aims of the Energy strategy of Northern Ostrobothnia are that the energy field will be important part of the economy of the Northern Ostrobothnia and that the knowhow in the energy issues in the area is strong. The conditions will be good for the production of the renewable energy sources, and hence, the production of renewable energy sources is diverse and efficient. The consumption of heat and electricity and part of the traffic fuel will be covered with own energy sources. Local environmental and climatic effects of the energy production will be taken into account. Also energy saving and energy efficiency will be improved.


The actions of the energy policies in Northern Ostrobothnia are the reduction of the emissions, the utilization of the renewable energy sources and measures to improve energy efficiency. The centralized energy and heat production will still be based on local fuels (peat, wood) in the future but the wood is estimated to become the main fuel instead of peat. When utilizing the natural resources, it is important to take care of the environmental and social impacts.


It is also estimated, that the decentralized energy production and hybrid methods are becoming more important in the future in rural and sparsely populated areas. Aims are to invest in the energy efficiency measures in order to decrease the energy consumption of the area and to improve the utilization of the local energy resources. That will also improve the employment situation and commercial and industrial life of the Northern Ostrobothnia. Goals are to promote large-scale investments in the energy production, to launch the new programs of bioenergy use, and to pilot the new energy solutions and energy efficient construction.


Northern Ostrobothnia – County plan and County program


According to the County plan and County program of Northern Ostrobothnia, municipalities have the key role when aiming to have energy efficient and low-carbon county of Northern Ostrobothnia. Low-carbon community demands new types of action in land use and traffic planning and construction. County has opportunities to profile itself as nationwide expert in the implementing energy efficient building.


Public sector will be the pioneer when implementing the energy efficient solutions and when preparing the action plan to improve the energy efficiency and to increase the use of renewable energy sources. Also possibilities of the use of the local renewable energy sources will be researched. There will be more diverse and efficient ways of the energy information sharing to the constructors, companies and inhabitants. There will be internationally interesting eco areas with energy efficient solutions, production of renewable energy and smart energy solutions. In area planning, new renewable energy source solutions will be promoted and innovative, energy and material efficient solutions will be advanced.

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Assets/Asset Owners


Water asset

Water bodies cover about 10% of the country’s territory and provide essential recreational value for the country. The volume of fresh water reserves is 21 000 m3 per person per year. When it comes to the Finnish water supply system, ground water reserves play a more important role compared to surface waters. Ground water share of total water abstraction in Finland is 65%. The main reasons of groundwater use are high water quality, good availability and security of supply. Water supply and wastewater treatment are available for 90% and 81% of the population, respectively, provided by public authorities. The rest of the population also has access to water services, but not from public water services providers. The tap water is potable all through Finland.


There are three levels of stakeholders. At the base are the customers; households, industry, different public institutions and other possible consumers. The most water intensive Finnish industry is pulp and paper production. However, frequently, paper mills have separate water supply and wastewater treatment systems arranged by private companies. On the operational level, there is a difference between Finnish towns and the countryside. In the cities, municipalities own and provide water services. The public sector is in charge of regulation, investments, funding control, maintenance, operation and management.


The municipalities are responsible for water services only in population centers and not outside of them. As a rule, water supply and wastewater treatment are carried out by municipally owned water enterprises. Private water companies are not common in Finland. However, there are opportunities according to the Finnish regulations to outsource some services to private companies. Storm water and melt water collection and treatment is also the responsibility of municipal companies. Most storm water is handled via separate pipelines. This decreases the amount of water coming to wastewater treatment facility. In sparsely populated rural areas, water service companies belong to voluntary establishments: households or co-operatives. In detached houses, it is common to drill water wells or boreholes.


The starting point of water supply is very different in built-up areas and in sparsely populated rural areas. In this sense, sparsely populated area means those outside the municipal water supply and sewerage system. The law requires such single household areas to manage their wastewater by themselves. They are expected to install wastewater treatment systems bearing the Conformité Européenne (CE) mark.


When it comes to co-operatives, there can be two sources of water supply: a) municipal water network use; b) own water source use. In both cases, the co-operatives have to manage related investments, operation and maintenance costs of their water systems. The major difference is that with option a) they only need to take care of network and pumping stations, whereas in option b) they should also consider water intake and treatment measures. As for wastewater treatment, co- operatives can either rely on municipal sewerage systems or their own wastewater treatment solutions. In general, co-operatives, as community-based systems allow good water resource management with lower costs to individual water users. When uniting into a co-operative, investment and maintenance costs become lower in comparison to personal in situ water systems. Co-operatives may also engage contractors to perform wastewater treatment and maintenance. This solution enables the fulfilment of strict local and EU legal requirements of water quality and supply.


Water asset utilization for renewable energy generation


Hydropower

Hydropower technology has been a conventional electricity conversion method for long time. In Finland, the installed amount of hydropower plants is more than 220, having power capacity of 3100 MW. The scale of hydropower varies from hundreds of kilowatts to tens of megawatts. In the area of EU, small-scale hydropower comprises plants having nominal output less than 10 MW, whilst large-scale plants exceed the limit of 10 MW.


Heat recovery utilization

Thermal energy is utilized via heat recovery from wastewater to heat up building spaces at wastewater treatment plants in Finland. In Lapua, a 120 kW heat pump recovers energy from wastewater for heating utilization. The investment of 45 000 euros has a payback period of 2-3 years. Similarly, a heat pump system is used for space heating at a wastewater treatment plant in Vaasa and Helsinki. In Savonlinna, at wastewater treatment plant that utilizes accelerating composting unit to produce compost has also heat recovery embedded in the technological scheme.


Biogas production from the wastewater sludge

In Finland, in 2011, there were around twenty municipal and industrial anaerobic digestion facilities with biogas production from wastewater sludge. The total energy production through the biogas utilization was about 145 GWh. One of the plants that treats wastewater sludge and produces biogas is located in Vampula. The biogas production plant uses municipal sludge and organic waste as a feedstock for anaerobic digestion. As a result, 8 000 MWh of power and 9 000 MWh of heat is produced on an annual basis. Other biogas production plants based on wastewater treatment facilities are situated in Espoo and Turku. In Turku, biogas is utilized with production of heat and power. The amount of generated power is 4 MW. The heat is used in district heating. In Jyväskylä, electricity is produced after anaerobic digestion process from biogas by using a 157 kW motor. Produced electricity is sent to compressors supplying air for aeration process. Similarly, in Tampere, produced biogas is converted into electricity and thermal energy. Produced electricity, afterwards, is used as additional energy at the wastewater treatment plant. By 2015, 0,2 TWh of energy can be potentially produced via utilization of sewage sludge in anaerobic digestion in Finland. In Kemi wastewater treatment plant, there was an estimation work done on potential energy utilization contained in wastewater. The plant consumes about 835 000 kWh of electricity and 775 000 kWh of heat on an annual basis. By implementing anaerobic digestion, one fourth of electricity needs and around half of heat demand can be covered. In connection with this, corresponding reduction of CO2 is also possible. The potential emissions reduction constitutes one third of CO 2 emissions in 2012.


Renewable energy

Renewable energy includes solar, wind, water, bioenergy, geothermal heat and energy captured from the movement of waves and the tide. Bioenergy covers wood-based fuels, field biomasses, biogas and biodegradable part of recycled fuels. The production of wave and tidal energy is not profitable in Finland with current technology.


The use of renewable energy depends on Finland’s own energy and climate policies and also EU decisions and directives, which Finland has to consider in its energy policies. Finland aims to increase the use of renewable energy from the current levels. The National Energy and Climate Strategy was updated in 2016.


Finland is among the leading EU countries in the use of renewable energy with Sweden, Latvia and Austria. In Sweden and Austria, water power accounts for a substantial part of the production of renewable energy. In Finland, the focus is clearly on wood and biobased, recycled fuels. In 2015, renewable energy accounted for 454.6 PJ (35 %) of total energy consumption. Energy consumption in Finland in 2015 was 1,306,3 petajoule (PJ), which was 3.2 per cent less than in 2014.

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Assets/Asset Owners

Potential Funding


Financial support for renewable energy implementation is provided by the Finnish Energy Authority, the Ministry of Employment and Economy and Business Finland. The two key categories of financial support are the feed-in tariff and subsidies.

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Potential Funding

Stakeholders


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Stakeholders

Policy - Influencers


RECENT is contributing to the overall EU 2020 policy through its work with remote rural communities, helping to make them self-sustainable and working towards a lower carbon economy. This section will work with each Partner country, the European Commission and other stakeholders, to develop the objectives of each country’s water strategy, which up until 2020 is climate change adaption, including the application of renewable energy in water management and energy efficient water services. The tools used as part of the project will be the decision making tools for communities to get involved after the life of the project. They will facilitate sustainable environmental management, not only for the 24 pilots, but for generations of future community projects. As we move towards the end of this project, the Policymakers section will feed into the closing conference which will be held in Brussels in June 2018, as part of EU Sustainability Week.

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Policy - Influencers

Case Studies


One of the benefits of a transnational project such as RECENT, is that is brings together case studies from a wide range of communities. These communities have many differences, however are brought together by the remote, rural nature of their locations, and as such have many more similarities than differences. The learning platform will showcase a number of case studies from across each of the five regions’, giving an insight into areas of best practice, new technologies and challenges which community groups and other stakeholders have overcome in their pursuit of self sustainability.

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Case Studies

Contact Information


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Contact Information

Mentoring Programme


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Mentoring Programme

Train the Trainer


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Train the Trainer

Area of Expertise


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Areas of Expertise

Further Reading


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Further Reading

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