This text, as well as most of my texts in this blog, are designed to give an introduction to the Finnish and global energy economics and energy technology. I indeed happened to get the honour of being selected as the energy ambassador of Vaasa region (the most interesting energy cluster in the Nordic countries) and I’m hoping to continue to work with the topics of this blog also during the summer.
The day of change has arrived. I am usually blogging about technology, but this time I’m talking about a different change – a change in thinking. The thinking is about technology though, so yeah, I seem not to get far from the subject.
EU – utilizing the potential by 2020
There are a few discussions in Finland about the energy issue. One of them is about fullfilling the EU 20-20-20 agreements. There is a genuine need for an increase in our energy efficiency (by 20% according to EU). Those who are not certain about the climate change and whether it should be regarded as a real threat, are sometimes the same persons who best understand the money that rolls in as the energy efficiency is taken into consideration. It’s about making all the small and big things possible, and gaining the profit even within a timescale that suits the quartal economy that we are living in.
Another discussion is about the fossile fuel. In this discussion even those, who don’t agree that the 20% of the consumed energy should be produced from renewable sources due to climate change, do mostly believe that the oil price will keep rising. The rise is mostly due to decreasing amount of easily reachable oil reserves. Because of this and the subsidies introduced by the governments, the renewable option has become and will become even more meaningful in the future. Making a wind mill is making money, and at the same time it is making us less dependent on importing oil.
Third part of the story is about reducing the CO2 emissions (in EU by 20%). In here the responsibility lies in the global agreements to sell and buy CO2 permissions. On my behalf, this arrangement is more or less working, but some challenges still need to be taken care of. Challenges such as some of the global economy leading countries should actually and finally start to take part in the system.
The difficulties can be overgone
Finland is lucky to have quite an amount of forests and rivers. Still there is only so much that can be done with those limited resources. We need to let the forests grow at the same pace that we use them. All our large rivers already have hydro power installed. There is some potential in the small hydro and it certainly is a part of the final answer. When the energy price goes up, there are new options in making energy that weren’t economical before.
The final answer, at least on my opinion, is not that black and white. It is complicated and cannot be stuffed into a sentence or a paragraph. It would e.g. include the three steps described above. It would certainly include taking those steps even further. It is almost impossible to foresee the changes that will take place in the technology markets. When people came accross with oil, no-one first understood what a potential lied in it. The combustion engine changed the mobility dramatically. When the engine was then innovatively put to run a steam driven car aka the locomotive, the revolution had started. (Note: oil had been used also before by e.g. the Chinese, but not in the scale of today)
As far as I see it (and I’m just a student who tries to listen to the wise ones), the revolution in energy has started. Of course also with the cars there were some difficulties at first. They were really expensive and not even that fast or suitable for the bumpy roads. Nowadays, though, the car has almost reached the whole world. Who knows what will be the new top-seller of the energy market? My guess is, it will be the distributed renewable energy production with smart grids to balance the consumption and production. This might need some continuous base production that we nowadays cover with nuclear and coal power.
It’s all about you
Summa summarum, the question about the future of our energy production is complex. The time scale for the change to fully take place is longer than our lifetime. I find this important to understand. We are making decisions that hopefully will be regarded as good decisions also in the future.
The debate in Finland doesn’t need to be so black and white. We have shown before that we can make our society one of the best in the world, and we make it with bold, well founded and high quality decisions. This kind of decisions cannot be made totally based on feelings or what everybody else is doing. We need to find our own way, and we have to find it together.
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