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Finland plans earlier coal closure deadline

08 Jan 2018 15:12 GMT
Finland plans earlier coal closure deadline

London, 8 January (Argus) — The Finnish government has proposed bringing forward its deadline for ending coal-fired power generation to 2025 from 2030.

It will examine ways of ensuring the closure of Finland's remaining 2.3GW of coal-fired capacity by the end of 2025 as part of work on the national energy and climate strategy, it said.

Finland already planned to publish legislation this year for a carbon tax and the government is now pushing for a 2019 start for the policy, to help gas-fired plants compete with coal.

"Although natural gas is a fossil fuel, its emissions factor is only about 60pc of the emissions factor for coal," energy minister Kimmo Tiilikainen said.

Finland has two large nuclear power plants under construction. These are both due to begin operating before 2025 and could help cover the shortfall from coal-fired plant closures. The 1.6GW Olkiluoto 3 nuclear plant is expected to begin commercial operations next year. And the 1.2GW Hanhikivi 1 nuclear plant is expected to be operational by 2024.

Plans to bring forward the coal-fired closure deadline are being considered in light of rising coal use by local energy companies in recent years to fuel combined heat and power plants, the government said.

Helsinki has also noted the need for accelerated investment on a global scale to meet climate change goals, it said.

And Tiilikainen called on fellow EU member states to revise their strategies to ensure green targets are met.

"The greater the number of EU countries that decide to phase out coal power and the faster they do it, the easier it will be to increase the common emissions reduction targets within the EU emissions trading scheme (ETS)," he said.

If confirmed, Finland's new timescale for coal-fired plant closures will align with the UK and Italy, while France has set a tentative deadline of 2022.

Finland has three coal-fired plants. Based on 2016 emissions data, their closure would reduce demand for EU ETS allowances by 5.16mn.