Researchers from the Lappeenranta University of Technology in Finland have concluded that a fully renewable energy system is not only possible, but economically viable for Finland.
“The main message is the option of a fully renewable energy system must be seen as a valid option for the future, rather than a radical alternative,” said Christian Breyer, Lappeenranta University of Technology’s (LUT) Professor for Solar Economy. “Finland certainly has an abundance of renewable resources, such as solar, wind, bioenergy and already exploited hydropower, which can be sustainably utilised.”
According to the research, in order for Finland to achieve its national 2050 greenhouse gas reduction targets, all sectors will need to be essentially emissions free. Understandably, then, a fully renewable energy system — including all energy consuming sectors — is a desirable goal for the Nordic country. The research shows that a renewable energy system is possible, making use of high shares of wind and solar energy, and including smart interaction between the electricity, heating and cooling, and transport sectors. To a lesser degree, the research’s model shows that power-to-gas technology and battery storage also have a central role as enabling technologies.
This study is also the first time the cost and “quantified dimensioning of the future energy system for Finland” has been carried out, “which means the capacities for each of the production, consumption, and storage technologies were defined.” Accordingly, the system includes 35 GW of installed solar power capacity, and 44 GW of installed wind power capacity. The researchers believe that this level of generation would create 166 TWh of electricity annually, with the excess being used to create synthetic fuels for various uses.
The total annual costs for such a renewable energy system come in at approximately 25 billion euros, compared to the current systems 18 billion euros — which itself is set to increase to 21 billion euros by 2020.
The researchers behind the new analysis are part of LUT’s Solar Economy Group, and their research was carried out as part of the NEO-CARBON ENERGY Project, explained in the video below: