Finland to capitalise on China’s cleantech growth

A clear change is taking place in Finland — this once high-energy consumer is turning its efforts to becoming a cleantech exporter.

The new Finnish ambassador told the story of the country’s transformation to People’s Daily Online on Nov.8 in Beijing: “In order to survive, we have to provide people with heating systems. Along with the demands of the strong forestry sector in the past, Finland relied on high energy consumption.”

finnamb“70% of Finland’s energy relies on imports,” said Mr. Jari Gustafson, Finnish Ambassador to China, “Apart from forestry, we don’t have natural resources.”

“Therefore Finland is trying to create energy-efficient solutions. This is one of the keys to Finland’s economic survival, and also a requirement if society is to play a role in reducing CO2 emissions in the fight against climate change,” Ambassador Gustafson continued.

The trend towards growth in energy consumption has now leveled out, and the amount of energy produced by renewable energy sources and nuclear power has overtaken the use of fossil fuels in Finland, according to researchers from the Academy of Finland’s Finnish Research Program on Climate Change (FICCA).

Ambassador Gustafsson took what the Finns call ‘zero-energy’ buildings as an example, explaining that these buildings in cold areas are designed without heating systems or external energy sources; all heat is recycled in the building.

In addition to improving energy efficiency, Finland has also committed to the development of renewable energy sources. According to statistics released last year, renewable energy made up 32.2% of total energy consumption in Finland, much higher than the average percentage of the 27 EU members (12.4% ) .

According to figures from the Finnish government, about 2,000 companies operate in its cleantech sector, generating annual exports of €12 billion, or 20% of Finland’s total exports.

“Now we have to adapt these advanced solutions to the Chinese system.”

In a broad-based survey of the country’s cleantech businesses by Cleantech Finland, China was named by Finnish companies as their most important export market. China also retains this position in estimates of what will be the most important markets in 2015.

A business delegation representing almost 30 cleantech companies accompanied Finnish Prime Minister Katainen and Minister of the Environment Ville Niinistö on their visit to China on 9-13 September this year. The challenges of a low carbon and resource efficient economy and preparations for future climate negotiations were discussed during the visit.

“A major platform”

In the spring of 2013, the signing of a memorandum of understanding by Tekes and China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection in the presence of the President of Finland, Sauli Niinistö, was the starting point for Beautiful Beijing – a project designed to build business and innovation partnerships between Finnish and Chinese companies in the environmental protection, energy efficiency, clean industrial process, and renewable energy sectors.

“The Beautiful Beijing project will be one of my key priorities during my stay in China, because it can be a big platform for better cooperation in many technological fields between China and Finland ” Ambassador Gustafsson said.

Through piloting activity and demonstrations scheduled for early 2014, the Beautiful Beijing project offers Finnish companies speedy access to Chinese cleantech markets.

Finland will see growth of more than 20% in clean technology exports to China within the next 10 years. According to the statistics released last year on Sino-Finnish energy efficiency and a green design workshop in Shanghai, joint R & D projects between the two sides are securing more than 150 million Euros in investment every year.

Source: People’s Daily

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