Electricity generation refers to the production of electric power by converting various forms of primary energy into electricity. Most electrical energy is produced in various power plants by converting mechanical energy into electrical energy using a generator. Some sources of power are renewable (e.g. wind and hydro) and some are non-renewable (e.g. nuclear). However, a non-renewable energy source is not necessarily bad in terms of emissions - for example, nuclear power generation is virtually emission-free in normal operation.
Most electricity companies have their own electricity contract can choose the production method they want for their electricity. In practice, this means that the electricity company must purchase or produce at least the same amount of electricity as is sold to customers using each form of generation.
Forms of electricity generation in Finland
Nuclear power is a reliable, efficient and low-emission form of electricity generation. Because of its efficiency, nuclear power generates a significant share of the world's and Finland's electricity. In a nuclear power plant, electricity is generated by a turbine driven by water heated by a nuclear reaction. The energy released by the nuclear reaction is converted into electricity by means of water, vaporisation and the turbine.
Hydropower is a renewable energy source that is also a cheap and reliable way to generate electricity. Indeed, hydropower is the second largest source of electricity in Finland, and almost all reasonable opportunities to build hydropower plants in Finland have already been exhausted. Hydropower generation itself does not produce any carbon dioxide, and water is not depleted or polluted in the process of electricity generation. However, the movement of fish can be affected to some extent by hydropower plants.
In hydropower, electricity generation is very simple: the flow of water is converted into electrical energy by the flow of water through a turbine.
Wind power is certainly a form of electricity generation with which everyone is familiar. Large wind turbines and their giant rotating blades are usually visible from afar. Wind power is the fastest growing form of energy generation in Europe and is seen as playing a key role in meeting climate targets.
In a wind turbine, the wind is converted into electricity through the rotating blades of the turbine. When the wind hits the blades, it spins a rotor at the end of which is a generator that produces electricity.
Wind turbines are usually located in a cluster of several turbines, i.e. a wind farm. Wind farms are located both offshore and onshore in Finland. The number of wind farms in Finland has grown rapidly. Wind power in Finland is available from a number of different companies, the best known of which is perhaps Ilmatar, which also builds and operates wind turbines. You can view Ilmattar's electricity contracts via our comparison engine.
Solar power is produced by solar panels. Solar power generation in Finland is very limited and accounts for a very small proportion of the country's total electricity production. Solar power is therefore mainly produced by private individuals using their own solar panels.
Electricity generation statistics
Electricity is produced in Finland in many different ways. The main energy sources in Finland's electricity production are nuclear power, hydroelectric power, coal, natural gas, wood fuels and peat. In addition to its own electricity production, Finland is also highly dependent on imported electricity. Up to 15-20% of consumption is dependent on imported electricity, which also poses a risk to Finland's security of supply. Overall, Finland's electricity production in 2020 was about 81 TWh.
Carbon dioxide emissions from energy production
In 2020, the total carbon dioxide emissions from electricity and district heat production in Finland were 9.4 Mt. Compared to the previous year, emissions decreased by 20%, and compared to the highest emission year of the 2000s (2003), emissions decreased by 72%.
Carbon dioxide emissions from electricity generation alone were 4.1 Mt in 2020. Compared to the previous year, there was a decrease of 24%, and over the last 10 years CO2 emissions have decreased by 78%.
Indeed, carbon dioxide-neutral electricity production in Finland is now at a record level. In 2020, 85% of electricity was produced using carbon neutral production methods. Renewable energy sources, on the other hand, produced 51% of electricity.
Shares of the different forms of production
In 2020, nuclear power accounted for 27.7% of Finland's electricity production. Hydropower accounted for 19.3% of electricity, wind for 9.6%, and solar for a negligible 0.3%.
In addition to the above-mentioned forms of production, electricity was obtained from industrial and district heating cogeneration, net imports and separate production. Separate production includes, among others, the combustion of coal (3.6%).
The share of wind power in Finland's electricity generation is still relatively small, but it has been growing rapidly. Compared to the previous year, capacity increased by 13% and production by 29%. It is also useful to compare the figures over a slightly longer period - compared to 2010, capacity has increased by 1319% and production by 2649%.