Press release 24 Nov 2016
On 24 November 2016, the Government of Finland released the country’s national energy and climate strategy up to the year 2030. A more stringent target than in the government programme has been set in the strategy with regard to the increase of renewable energy in the transport sector: 30 per cent biofuels by the year 2030.
-The goal is very challenging. Its implementation will require that a sufficient amount of sustainable raw materials are available for biofuel production and that the raw material base is as broad as possible, states Helena Vänskä, Managing Director of the Finnish Petroleum and Biofuels Association.
In order to reduce emissions in traffic, many simultaneous measures are required on the part of the transport system, vehicles and spent energy. Of the low-carbon energy alternatives used in traffic, waste- and residual-based biofuels that Finnish enterprises have specialised in are a fast and efficient means to reduce emissions: they suit the current range of vehicles and distribution system.
Moreover, biofuels reduce transport emissions in a highly cost-effective manner: for example, 500,000 electric cars would be needed to reach the same emission reductions as those already achieved with liquid biofuels.
-Domestic biofuel production raises the Gross National Product. The Finnish biofuel industry produces top-class products not only for Finland, but for export as well. It’s important that energy policy is long-term in character and encourages new investments. State subsidies should, however, target research, development and demonstration projects before everything else. New production facilities should come into being on the basis of market criteria without support, as they have up to this point, Helena Vänskä emphasises.
Instruments must be based on market criteria and be cost-effective
The reduction of transport emissions should be based on market criteria rather than on subsidies. For example, subsidies amounting to 100 million euros to procure electric and natural gas cars is an expensive way to reduce emissions in traffic.
-Why would it be worth it for Finland to support the purchase of electric cars at this stage when they are still highly expensive? From the perspective of taxpayers, it would be reasonable to wait for the arrival of more economically priced electric vehicles on the market and not to consider the need for subsidies until that stage, Helena Vänskä considers.
Cars with internal combustion engines manage well in emission comparisons
-In discussing various types of power, it’s easy to forget that the energy efficiency of internal combustion engines is advancing continuously. Cars with internal combustion engines in 2030 will be highly energy efficient, incorporate high-blend biofuels, and will not produce tailpipe emissions, due to exhaust purifiers. The emissions of such vehicles and, for instance, electric cars using renewable electricity are thereby on the same level, Helena Vänskä points out.
Further information: Finnish Petroleum and Biofuels Association, Helena Vänskä, Managing Director, tel. +358 (0)40 581 6786