Inconsistent tax solutions restrict opportunities to increase renewable energy

In the view of Helen Ltd, Finland needs a more coherent energy policy. The tax increase on combined heat and power generation, proposed by the Government, together with the ban on the use of coal that has been brought forward would significantly restrict the opportunities for energy companies to invest in new energy innovations and emissions reduction.

- It is inconsistent that energy generators are being throttled with new tax solutions at the same time as they are expected to make investments in renewable energy, says Pekka Manninen, CEO of Helen Ltd.

The Government’s previous policy outline on banning the use of coal in energy production in 2029 poses substantial challenges to Helen in terms of implementing substitutive solutions with an accelerated schedule. With the Government’s schedule, the only available, large-scale alternative is moving to extensive use of wood-based biofuels in heat production.

- Finland needs an energy policy that strengthens Finland as a forerunner in the energy sector and creates preconditions to develop new innovations and radical means to resolve the climate challenge. The actions taken by the Government diminish our opportunities to invest in the development of these new solutions, says Pekka Manninen.

In Helen’s opinion, the Government Bill for reducing taxation on natural gas is a step in the right direction. However, the price of natural gas will still not be competitive even after the tax change.

Hundreds of millions in renewable energy

An investment programme worth hundreds of millions of euros is currently ongoing at Helen. Finland’s largest pellet-fired boiler producing renewable district heat was completed in Salmisaari in February. Helen already has the world’s largest heating and cooling plant of its kind. Moreover, a new industrial-scale heating and cooling plant, which will further increase the utilisation of excess heat in district heat production, is currently under construction.

In March, an investment decision was taken on building Finland’s largest underground cavern heat storage facility in Mustikkamaa in Helsinki. The investment will reduce the use of coal and other fossil fuels.

Helen is preparing to phase out the coal-fired Hanasaari power plant, and it is currently investigating the options of building three new bioenergy heating plants in various parts of Helsinki.

Published: 30.05.2018 10:02

Seija Uusitalo
Team manager, communications
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