Nordic Energy Forum: Energy Policy

Session 3. Energy policy panel – panel discussion[1] 


Director of Finnish Energy Jari Kostama opened the panel discussion by introducing the EU energy policy. He asked the other panelists some central questions regarding regional energy policy cooperation, regulation in the field of energy as well as the EU energy policy and its relationship with national policies.


Replying from the Estonian perspective, Mr. Leppiman said that the idea of the common EU energy market has already existed for a long time, but there are still many nationalistic views on energy policy. Mr. Leppiman said that the biggest issue for Estonia is that everyone is talking about the clean energy future and how to achieve it. Also, the Internet of Things will play a major role.


As for Finland, Mr. Huttunen said that climate change policies are central in the regulatory side. The primary goal is to cut emissions and it should be done in a way which also secures the European industrial competitiveness. Clean technology should play a role in Europe and in Finland, and the way to achieve that is to make markets function well and distribute the incentives correctly.


Mr. Andrén said that the Swedish energy policy is often ahead of the EU’s, so there are no conflicts with EU legislation. For example, the Swedish targets state that by 2040, electricity production should be 100% renewables and there should be no emissions of greenhouse gases by 2045. Mr. Andren said that regional cooperation is important and that more money should be invested in the network with neighboring countries, including the Nordics and the Baltics.


Moderator Kivi-Koskinen also asked the panelists to summarize their national energy policy target for 2030 and their vision of achievements by 2030. Mr. Leppiman said that the Estonian targets are related to the country’s high energy intensity and improving energy efficiency. By 2030, he hopes that energy dependence will be zero. Mr. Huttunen said that for Finland, the target by 2030 is to increase the share of renewables in final consumption from the current 40%. Also, 30% of transportation should be renewable. Coal should be removed as an energy source and the use of crude oil should be halved in Finland. Mr. Andrén added that Sweden is concerned about the possible clash over the use of biofuels between EU and Sweden.


When asked about whether the current market arrangement is sustainable for low-carbon energy transformation, the panelists largely agreed that there should be regional and European solutions for the capacity issue. Mr. Leppiman said that it will be cheaper to reach the targets through regional and European cooperation.


Finally, the moderator asked what will be the main takeaway from the COP23 in Bonn and how the panelists saw the regional energy cooperation in the Nordics, including the Baltic countries. The panelists hoped to see the concrete implementation of the Paris Climate Agreement, while Mr. Huttunen added that tighter global targets will probably be needed in two years. About regional cooperation, the panelists agreed that there should be more cooperation and coordination between the Nordic and the Baltic states. Mr. Leppiman said that as an Estonian representative, he would like to see more cooperation between Nordics and the Baltics. However, it was noted that EU and national policies set the rules and frameworks, so the Nordics cannot act with complete freedom when it comes to regional cooperation.


[1] The Energy Policy Panel was moderated by Helena Kivi-Koskinen from WEC Finland. The participants include Director of Finnish Energy Jari Kostama, Director of Energy Department of Finland Riku Huttunen, Deputy Secretary General for Energy of Estonia Ando Leppiman and Deputy Director at Division for Natural Resources of Sweden Robert Andrén