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Ministerial Working Group on Climate and Energy Policy discussed support from EU recovery package for transition towards carbon neutral Finland

Ministry of the Environment
2.9.2020 8.13
Press release

On Wednesday, the Ministerial Working Group on Climate and Energy Policy discussed how the EU’s new recovery instrument could support a transition towards a carbon neutral Finland.

In July, the Member States of the European Union reached agreement on the EU’s multiannual financial framework and its climate element. At least 30 per cent of the financial framework and the recovery instrument must support climate goals, and all funding must support the objectives of the Paris Agreement.

“The EU’s recovery instrument is a unique opportunity to accelerate the transition towards carbon-neutral mobility, heating and industry. It is an opportunity we cannot afford to miss,” says Minister of the Environment and Climate Change Krista Mikkonen.

Ministerial group approved national targets for public wood construction

The ministerial working group approved the national targets for public wood construction to be published on 8 September. There will be quantitative targets for all public new construction and for types of public buildings, such as buildings used in education, teaching and healthcare. Since this spring, the Government Wood Building Programme, coordinated by the Ministry of the Environment, has worked together with stakeholders to formulate its targets. One of the Government Programme aims is to double the use of wood in construction during this government term.

Focus of renewable energy subsidies shifted to projects on new energy technology

The ministerial group received an overview of the economic instruments for renewable energy and of the energy aids granted by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment. Energy aid can be granted to investment projects or investigation projects that promote the production or use of renewable energy, boost energy savings, increase the efficiency of energy generation or use, or otherwise facilitate the transition towards a low-carbon energy system. Since 2019, a separate appropriation of EUR 40 million has been reserved for investment aid for new energy technology and large-scale demonstration projects. Projects eligible for aid include biorefinery projects, projects that seek substitutes for coal and other fossil fuels in urban areas and other large-scale demonstration projects on new energy technology. Legislation that entered into force last year prescribes that Finland will phase out the use of coal for energy by 1 May 2029. A total of EUR 90 million has been reserved for the aid programme for energy companies who transition away from coal already by 2025. Priority will be given to projects that use non-combustion technologies.

Ministers received an update on the European Commission’s Hydrogen Strategy and Energy System Integration Strategy. The strategies will enable the introduction of low-carbon solutions across all sectors of the economy. In July, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment appointed a working group to examine possibilities to promote energy sector integration in Finland. The working group will explore the need for different forms of energy and the opportunities they offer for sector integration, and identify any obstacles to integration. It will also assess the possibilities of promoting the hydrogen economy and Power-to-X solutions.

Lastly, ministers were briefed on the outcomes of the second meeting of the Climate Policy Roundtable. The meeting agenda included the current state of emission reductions and the reform of energy taxation. The roundtable talked about low-carbon roadmaps in industry, utilisation of the EU’s recovery support, and links between the reduction of emissions and other issues in society. The tax reform for sustainable development was also considered important from the perspective of a just transition. The purpose of the roundtable is to create a common understanding of how Finland can make a just transition to a carbon neutral society even faster than envisaged so far. Different actors in society are broadly represented in the roundtable, from advocacy groups to NGOs and labour unions and youth organisations to the scientific community.

The task of the Ministerial Working Group on Climate and Energy Policy is to guide and direct the implementation of the Government Programme with respect to promoting the carbon neutrality target, strengthening of carbon sinks and decision-making on climate and energy policy, while also taking into account social justice and international competitiveness.

Inquiries:

Riikka Yliluoma, Special Adviser to the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, tel. +358 50 414 1682, [email protected]