Earth Hour doesn’t move the needle on Finland’s electricity grid

Central Helsinki during Earth Hour on Saturday, 28 March. (Yle)
Central Helsinki during Earth Hour on Saturday, 28 March. (Yle)
Several Finnish landmarks turned the lights out on Saturday night to mark the WWF’s Earth Hour event to highlight climate change.

Finland’s grid operator said that the event did not make a noticeable difference to electricity consumption.

The annual Earth Hour took place on Saturday night, with landmarks across Finland—including Yle’s television tower in Pasila, Helsinki—turning out the lights to raise awareness about climate change. Organiser WWF (the World Wide Fund for Nature) said that people in some 172 countries took part this year.

Raising awareness about climate change

The idea of the event is to encourage individuals, organisations and businesses to turn their lights out for an hour to raise awareness of climate change. In Finland, however, the event made no difference to electricity consumption.

“We have good metering figures, but there are so many ways to consume power that switching lights off isn’t really noticeable,” said Fingrid planning chief Timo Kaukonen, who said similar observations had been made during previous Earth Hours.

The whole system uses around 10,000 megawatts, and turning out lights is worth perhaps 10 megawatts. However there are large fluctuations in power usage, particularly in industry, and so it is difficult to state the exact effect Earth Hour has.

Worldwide around 1,400 landmarks took part including the Eiffel Tower, the Empire State building and the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. In Finland the hour was observed by Yle, Sanomatalo in Helsinki, Finlandia house, and the tower at the Olympic Stadium, among other buildings.

Related stories from around the North:

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Greenland: Arctic oil and gas must stay in ground to restrict warming to 2°C says study, Blog by Mia Bennett

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