Minister Rehn not worried about Russian energy dependency

Minister of Economic Affairs Olli Rehn told Yle on Friday that Finland’s energy sources are diversified and that it has a national energy strategy aimed at strengthening its self-sufficiency and security of supply.
Minister of Economic Affairs Olli Rehn says Finland's energy resources are diversified (Yle)
Minister of Economic Affairs Olli Rehn says Finland’s energy resources are diversified (Yle)

Economic Affairs Minister Olli Rehn says he is not worried that the planned Russian-built and supplied Fennovoima nuclear power plant would increase Finland’s energy dependence on Moscow.

On Tuesday, the Finnish Institute of International Affairs issued a report on threats related to Russia, in which it included the Fennovoima project. It notes that Russia has in the past used energy dependence as a way to apply pressure on its neighbouring countries.

It alleged that the government’s Fennovoima decision was political and that President Vladimir Putin is personally controlling the process from the Russian side. The plant in Pyhäjoki is to be built, supplied and co-owned by state nuclear company Rosatom.

More domestic renewables on the way

Interviewed on Yle Radio 1’s morning talk show on Friday, Rehn said he had not thoroughly read the report, but asserted that Finland’s energy sources are diversified.

“Finland’s selection of energy sources is quite varied, both in regard to types of energy and the countries of origin and of raw materials. Of course a large proportion is domestic and hopefully in the future with renewables, even more will be domestic, particularly in forest-based bioenergy,” said Rehn.

“We are in fact not dependent on any single supplier, and one of the main goals of the whole national energy strategy is to strengthen our self-sufficiency so that our security of supply will improve further. The overall direction is specifically to raise the share of renewables to more than half of all energy production,” he said.

Russia provides an estimated 60-70 percent of the energy used in Finland.

Rehn took over as Minister of Economic Affairs last year, after a decade as a European Commissioner. In August 2015, he gave the green light to the Fennovoima project despite having harshly criticised it a year earlier.

Related stories from around the North:

Canada:  Energy challenges in Canada’s North, Eye on the Arctic

Finland:  Helsinki City Council to close coal plant, Yle News

Norway: Focus on green energy in the Arctic, The Independent Barents Observer

Russia: No alternative to Arctic oil says Russia environment minister, Barents Observer

Sweden: Sweden to have 100 percent renewable energy by 2040, Radio Sweden

United States: New Alaska rules may help renewable energy projects, Alaska Public Radio Network


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