Finland Wants More Solar, Wind Energy

July 2, 2014 By Karen Henry

wind-solar-energy-manageVTT Technical Research Centre of Finland has joined forces with Lappeenranta University of Technology and the Finland Futures Research Centre at the University of Turku to launch the Neo-Carbon Energy program, a project aimed at developing new solar and wind energy systems and their associated business sectors in Finland.

The purpose of the project is to develop an emission-free solar- and wind-based energy system that will store energy in the form of hydrocarbons. The total budget for the project is nearly $9.6 million. Tekes, the Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation, will provide $6.8 million in funding for the project over the next two years.

While developing an emission-free energy system based on solar and wind energy and its associated technologies could provide a significant opportunity for Finland to succeed in the global energy market, the project is not without its challenges. Varying supply levels pose a significant challenge. In the future, households may play a significant role as suppliers of electric power to the local and national grid. They may be able to get the excess electricity stored by energy service providers, or they could sell this energy and buy it back as fuel for cars, VTT said.

Finnish legislation does not yet account for the needs of new forms of energy, its distribution and storage or the trade of solar and wind energy generated by private citizens, so building a new energy system requires the creation of legislation related to the energy business, energy markets and new business chains.

Finland must also address how to get electricity, heating, industrial and transport sectors to use the variable solar and wind energy sources.

VTT said that hydrocarbons produced using solar and wind power could be stored and utilized in the existing energy system. The system would be carbon-neutral because the carbon cycle in the electric power system would be closed, and emissions from transport and industry would be recycled using atmospheric carbon as a source of carbon for the energy system.

The Neo-Carbon Energy program is divided into three parts: futures research related to global challenges and energy systems; the development of energy systems; and the enhancement of competencies related to the development of energy storage technologies.

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