There's no quick fixes to the European energy crisis, but at least Finland has a strategy. Drop the dogma's and be pragmatic. Finland lobbies to get nuclear energy labelled as sustainable energy source. Finland relies on an energy mix from nuclear, hydro and bioenergy sources. This makes the country less vulnerable then other countries in Europe.
Finland has clear and ambitious climate targets: Carbon neutrality by 2035, a phase-out of coal by 2030, and an increase in renewable energy reliance to about 50% of the overall mix. But it’s taken a realistic stance on how to get there, by accepting that demand for electricity isn’t going away, fossil fuels can’t be unplugged overnight, and that nuclear energy can help smooth the transition.
Finnish Green Party takes responsibility
The consensus-building approach along the way has resulted in the Finnish Greens, unlike peers elsewhere, abandoning their opposition to nuclear and being open to new plant projects. “I think the mistake a lot of European countries made is to not keep in mind the benefits of a diverse energy portfolio,” Alexander Stubb, who was prime minister at the time the Greens quit", tells Bloomberg. Some of this was by necessity rather than by design. Like a lot of places, Finland can’t choose where it sits on the map: It shares a border with Russia, on which it relies for gas and fossil fuels, meaning energy security and diversity are high on its agenda.
But a few things stand out in the Finnish experience. One is consensus-building, with a debate that’s been going on for decades involving stakeholders and representatives of a traditionally corporatist society. That’s gone hand-in-hand with practical innovation: While the Olkiluto saga has been an expensive lesson in what can go wrong when chasing “next-generation” nuclear reactors, its solution to treating nuclear waste — by burying it about 1,400 feet underground using sealed copper canisters — required community buy-in and has drawn international praise.
Another aspect is Finland’s unique “mankala structure”, the Finnish business model in which the energy users jointly own the power plants. These are limited liability companies run like zero-profit cooperatives, bringing together corporations and energy providers to purchase, finance, and share the output of projects. The result is a solution “that has quite broad social legitimacy,” according to Atte Harjanne, a Green member of the Finnish parliament.