Browsing by Subject "renewable energy"

Sort by: Order: Results:

Now showing items 1-17 of 17
  • Isoaho, Karoliina Laila Hannele; Moilanen, Fanni Sofia; Toikka, Arho Ilmari (2019)
    The Energy Union, a major energy sector reform project launched by the European Commission in 2015, has substantial clean energy and climate aims. However, scholarly caution has been raised about their feasibility, especially with regards to accommodating climate objectives with other closely related yet often competing policy goals. We therefore investigate the policy priorities of the Energy Union by performing a topic modelling analysis of over 5,000 policy documents. A big data analysis confirms that decarbonisation and energy efficiency dimensions are major building blocks in the Energy Union's agenda. Furthermore, there are signals of policy convergence in terms of climate security and climate affordability policies. However, our analysis also suggests that the Commission is not actively prescribing trajectories for renewable energy development or paying close attention to declining incumbent energy generation technologies. Overall, we find that the Energy Union is not a 'floating signifier' but rather has a clear and incrementally evolving decarbonisation agenda. Whether it further develops into an active driver of decarbonisation will largely be determined by the implementation phase of the project.
  • Haghighi, Ali Torabi; Ashraf, Faisal Bin; Riml, Joakim; Koskela, Jarkko; Kløve, Bjørn; Marttila, Hannu (Elsevier, 2019)
    Applied Energy 255 (2019), 113905
    With increasing power production from renewable energy sources, sub-daily variations in energy demand need to be balanced. Today, hydropower is commonly used as balancing power. In this study, we quantified the impact of capacity constraints, in terms of reservoir volume and hydropower capacity, on the potential to comply with instant energy demand. To evaluate the impact, we developed two new metrics, power market impact and system efficiency ratio, which are based on two threshold flow regimes derived from natural flow as lower threshold release and regulated flow (based on hourly energy prices) as upper threshold release. The operation support model comprises 96 different regulation scenarios based on varying combinations of hydropower and reservoir capacities. For each scenario, an hourly water balance was simulated, to obtain the highest complying with upper threshold release based on actual energy demand. We tested the framework on the Kemijoki river with defined thresholds based on the natural flow regime (tributary river Ounasjoki) and the hourly energy price in Finland in 2017, and estimated the impact of regulation on hourly flow regime at the Taivalkoski hydropower station. The annual flow regime impact in 2013, 2014 and 2015 was estimated to be 74%, 84% and 61%, respectively, while the monthly impact varied from 27% to 100%. Our framework for evaluating interactions between the power market and sub-daily regulation practices is a useful novel tool for sustainable river management and can be easily applied to different rivers and regions and evaluated for different timescales.
  • Virtanen, E.A.; Lappalainen, J.; Nurmi, M.; Viitasalo, M.; Tikanmäki, M.; Heinonen, J.; Atlaskin, E.; Kallasvuo, M.; Tikkanen, H.; Moilanen, A. (Elsevier Science, 2022)
    Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews
    The global demand for renewable energy is on the rise. Expansion of onshore wind energy is in many parts of the world limited by societal acceptance, and also ecological impacts are a concern. Here, pragmatic methods are developed for the integration of high-dimensional spatial data in offshore wind energy planning. Over 150 spatial data layers are created, which either oppose or support offshore wind energy development, and represent ecological, societal, and economic factors. The method is tested in Finland, where interest in developing offshore wind energy is growing. Analyses were done using a spatial prioritization approach, originally developed for the prioritization of high-dimensional ecological data, and rarely used in planning offshore wind energy. When all criteria are integrated, it is possible to find a balanced solution where offshore wind farms cause little disturbance to biodiversity and society, while at the same time yielding high profitability for wind energy production. Earlier proposed areas for offshore wind farms were also evaluated. They were generally well suited for wind power, with the exception of a couple of areas with comparatively high environmental impacts. As an outcome, new areas well suited for large scale wind power deployment were recognized, where construction costs would be moderate and disturbance to biodiversity, marine industries and people limited. A novel tradeoff visualization method was also developed for the conflicts and synergies of offshore energy deployment, which could ease the dialogue between different stakeholders in a spatial planning context. Overall, this study provides a generic and transparent approach for well-informed analysis of offshore wind energy development potential when conflict resolution between biodiversity, societal factors and economic profits is needed. The proposed approach is replicable elsewhere in the world. It is also structurally suitable for the planning of impact avoidance and conflict resolution in the context of other forms of construction or resource extraction.
  • Lyytimäki, Jari (Springer, 2019)
    Clean Technologies and Environmental Policy 21, 1143–1153 (2019)
    One of the most widely accepted rule of thumb of bioenergy production has been that burning wet wood should be avoided. This advice has guided the development of harvesting, logistics and combustion of wood chips. However, experimentations in Finland have challenged this approach by showing that it may be possible to considerably improve the energy efficiency of heat and power plants by burning the wood chips as soon as possible after harvesting them from boreal forests. The high energy content of fresh wood has been known for a long time, but this knowledge has not been widely acknowledged as the guiding principle in the development of the energy use of wood chips. This study analyses public (non)debate of wood chip burning in Finland based on conceptualisations of non-recognition and discusses the implications of knowledge use and non-use for sustainable energy transitions. It is concluded that various forms of non-recognition can significantly hinder the development and implementation of more sustainable energy solutions. The importance of the varieties of ignorance and their societal consequences should not be forgotten from the sustainability transition studies.
  • Joas, Markus (Helsingfors universitet, 2014)
    The Finnish forest industries are going through heavy adjustments as especially the western world is moving towards a more digitalized model where the amount of paper and pulp consumed is diminishing. It is obvious that the whole industry is in need for new solutions. These new solutions and innovations can be found from the field of bioenergy. Finland is rich with forest-based raw material which can provide a long-term and local source of energy. In the future this will be of primary importance as the prices of the non-renewable energy sources will climb higher as the deposits of the fossil fuels dry up. The usage of the renewable energy sources are also very important in order to prevent the global climate change and to achieve the goals regulated for Finland in the Kyoto Protocol and the European RES-E directive. This Master’s Thesis takes a look at the current state and the future trends of the Finnish wood pellet industries. The domestic wood-based pellet industries are studied with a concise literature review and a SWOT analysis based on the earlier literature. The analysis is linked to the future expectations and current retailer perspectives with a survey conducted between June and October 2013. The sample consists of 39 low, medium and high sales volume wood pellet manufacturers and retailers whom mostly do only domestic pellet trading business. Most of the strengths of the domestic wood-based pellet industries are related to different kinds of ecological aspects or different kinds of raw material related issues. In the future especially the prices of the raw materials, prices of other energy sources and prices of the end-product will be in a crucial role. Most of the survey participants underlined the significance of the governmental acts concerning the future of the whole business in Finland: a favorable taxing policy and different subsidies can make Finland truly a greener economy but this have not happened yet, much due to the unfavorable domestic politics. According to the survey respondents, in the future the demand of wood-based pellet services, especially tailored and ready-to-use services from maintenance to deliveries are going to increase.
  • Kangas, Hanna-Liisa; Ollikka, K.; Ahola, J.; Kim, Y. (Elsevier Science, 2021)
    Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 150: 111356
    Smart energy transition includes a widespread deployment of clean energy technologies and intelligent energy management with information and communication technologies (ICTs). In this paper, the smart energy transition is studied from the viewpoint of the technology convergence of renewable energy sources (RESs) and ICTs. Two important, fast-growing and weather-dependent renewable energy generation technologies: wind power and solar PV (photovoltaic) are studied. This paper provides technology convergence analyses of RES and ICT inventions based on international patent data. Digitalisation is changing the whole of society, and according to the results, this transition can also be seen in the studied renewable energy generation technologies. The digitalisation of RES production covers technologies that control, manage and optimise electricity production in different intelligent ways. Differences between wind power and solar PV technologies are found: in the case of wind power, the development from virtually no ICT solutions to partial technology convergence with the ICT sector is straightforward. However, in the case of solar PV, the development of basic technologies has been even faster than the development of the solar PV ICT solutions, which may indicate the immature nature of solar PV technologies during the studied years. The digitalisation of the renewable energy sector poses challenges for RES companies in following and predicting ICT development and opportunities for innovations and collaborations with ICT companies. This conclusion can also be expanded to society and policy levels because focusing on only a narrow field when planning innovation policy instruments can negatively impact the country's competitiveness.
  • Nygrén, Nina A.; Kontio, Panu; Lyytimäki, Jari; Varho, Vilja; Tapio, Petri (Elsevier, 2015)
    Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 46 (2015), pages 79-87
    Local level actors have an important role in developing small-scale energy innovations as well as disseminating the gained knowledge to key audiences. Diffusion of these energy solutions from innovators and early adopters to wider user groups has often been slow. This study explores the innovators׳ and early adopters׳ experiences of their projects, motivations for their behavior, and obstacles that inhibit the diffusion of energy innovations. Four different types of innovators and early adopters of new energy solutions are identified: Enthusiasts, Utilizers, Green Developers and Green Consumers. These groups are characterized by different sets of motivating factors, including environmental concern, interest in technology, economic profit, self-sufficiency, willingness to utilize excess material, promotion of innovations and image reasons. They also have encountered different kinds of barriers to their actions, such as lack of relevant information, poor product quality and lack of economic and institutional support. The different motivating and forestalling factors should be identified and taken into account when developing incentives as well as interaction and communication strategies to enhance the diffusion of innovative, sustainable small-scale energy solutions.
  • Mäkelä, Marileena; Parkkinen, Marjukka; Lyytimäki, Jari; Nygrén, Nina A. (Elsevier, 2020)
    Futures 121: 102571
    Wood is the most widely used renewable energy source in the world. However, there are competing views on how wood should be used in the future. The objective of this study is to examine conceptions related to alternative futures for the use of woodchips as an energy source in Finland. We construct futures images based on two data sources describing the views favouring the use of woodchips: thematic interviews with woodchip users and newspaper articles. The futures images are constructed based on two key themes that emerge from our data. First, the alternatives are imagined for the types of the operators using woodchips in the future, varying between small- and large-scale use. Second, the strong role of regulations, particularly at the European Union level, will be the key driver of the future use of woodchips as an energy source. The results show wide variation in the potential goals of public governance, ranging from regulations designed to strongly support the use of woodchips as an energy source to almost complete conservation of forests. Focusing on the regime level, we identify possible transition pathways illustrating how the use of woodchips could change in the future and discuss possible policy implications.
  • Dahal, Karna Prasad; Niemelä, Jari Kalevi (2016)
    Carbon neutrality represents one climate strategy adopted by many cities, including the city of Helsinki and the Helsinki metropolitan area in Finland. This study examines initiatives adopted by the Helsinki metropolitan area aimed at reducing energy-related carbon emissions and achieving carbon neutrality through future actions. Various sectorial energy consumption rates per year and carbon emissions from various sectors within the city of Helsinki and the metropolitan area were extracted from an online database and re-calculated (in GWh, MWh/inhabitant and MtCO(2)e, KtCO(2)e/inhabitant). We employed a backcasting scenario method to explore the various carbon reduction measures in the Helsinki metropolitan area. About 96% of the emissions produced in the Helsinki metropolitan area are energy-based. District heating represents the primary source of emissions, followed by transportation and electricity consumption, respectively. We also found that accomplishing the carbon reduction strategies of the Helsinki metropolitan area by 2050 remains challenging. Technological advancement for clean and renewable energy sources, smart policies and raising awareness resulting in behavioral changes greatly affect carbon reduction actions. Thus, strong political commitments are also required to formulate and implement stringent climate actions
  • Kuitunen, Aino (Helsingfors universitet, 2013)
    The City of Helsinki relies strongly on the use of fossil fuels as its main energy source. Coal power with high level of emissions covers one third of the city’s energy production. To mitigate the effects of climate change, the city should stop using coal and replace it with the use of renewable energy. The goal of this thesis is to find a way for Helsinki to replace coal by 2030 with energy efficiency improvements and distributed renewable energy. Thesis was an assignment from WWF Finland and it is a part of urban energy campaign called Seize your Power. First of all, the local circumstances have to be understood. This gives a basis to Geothermal Scenario that is formed to replace coal. First step of the Scenario is to reduce the demand of coal power by energy efficiency improvements in buildings. Next, a set of locally functional renewable energy sources is formed based on decreased demand. Main energy source of the Scenario is geothermal energy but also biomass,solar and wind power are utilized. The Geothermal Scenario is then evaluated with costbenefit analysis. Results of Cost-Benefit Analysis show that the net present value (NPV) is negative in short, medium, and long term. The values vary between -200 million and circa -3 billion euros. In the sensitivity analysis, the effects of the changes in prices of emission permit, coal, and bio-SNG as well as discount rate were estimated. The length of time horizon had a huge impact on the results. Non-market values were not included in the analysis.
  • Lyytimäki, Jari (Elsevier, 2018)
    Sustainable Production and Consumption 15 (2018), pages 65-73
    Decentralised production and consumption of biogas is often argued to provide multiple opportunities for accelerating the transition towards sustainable development. This research focuses on the long-term coverage of biogas in two widely read Finnish newspapers. The results show a relatively voluminous professional but weaker and scattered mainstream media coverage of biogas. Four key storylines of public debate relevant for sustainability transition are investigated. First, the environmental impacts of biogas have been described under strikingly positive framings highlighting a potential for various environmental benefits. In particular, growing emphasis has been placed on natural resource management following the idea of circular economy. Second, the economic storyline has casted doubts on profitability of biogas production by emphasising the need for public subsidies. Newspaper coverage has focused on the micro level economic performance of energy producers and left the macro level economic implications of biogas with little attention. Third, the energy policy storyline has framed biogas predominantly as a local-level solution without extensively discussing a national level target setting for biogas. Fourth, the technology storyline has been relatively thin and it has emphasised the novelty of biogas production without highlighting any major technological problems or risks. Overall, the newspaper coverage of biogas has not seriously challenged the dominant energy discourse taking the centralised energy production as a self-evident overall context of national energy system. The results suggest that there exists a considerable variation between different media and between different national contexts. These variations should be taken into account when designing and implementing energy policies.
  • Norton, Michael; Baldi, Andras; Buda, Vicas; Carli, Bruno; Cudlin, Pavel; Jones, Mike B.; Korhola, Atte; Michalski, Rajmund; Novo, Francisco; Oszlányi, Július; Santos, Filpe Duarte; Schink, Bernhard; Shepherd, John; Vet, Louise; Walloe, Lars; Wijkman, Anders (2019)
    Abstract In recent years, the production of pellets derived from forestry biomass to replace coal for electricity generation has been increasing, with over 10 million tonnes traded internationally?primarily between United States and Europe but with an increasing trend to Asia. Critical to this trade is the classification of woody biomass as ?renewable energy? and thus eligible for public subsidies. However, much scientific study on the net effect of this trend suggests that it is having the opposite effect to that expected of renewable energy, by increasing atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide for substantial periods of time. This review, based on recent work by Europe's Academies of Science, finds that current policies are failing to recognize that removing forest carbon stocks for bioenergy leads to an initial increase in emissions. Moreover, the periods during which atmospheric CO2 levels are raised before forest regrowth can reabsorb the excess emissions are incompatible with the urgency of reducing emissions to comply with the objectives enshrined in the Paris Agreement. We consider how current policy might be reformed to reduce negative impacts on climate and argue for a more realistic science-based assessment of the potential of forest bioenergy in substituting for fossil fuels. The length of time atmospheric concentrations of CO2 increase is highly dependent on the feedstocks and we argue for regulations to explicitly require these to be sources with short payback periods. Furthermore, we describe the current United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change accounting rules which allow imported biomass to be treated as zero emissions at the point of combustion and urge their revision to remove the risk of these providing incentives to import biomass with negative climate impacts. Reforms such as these would allow the industry to evolve to methods and scales which are more compatible with the basic purpose for which it was designed.
  • Koppelmäki, Kari; Lamminen, Marjukka; Helenius, Juha; Schulte, Rogier P.O. (2021)
    Agriculture is expected to feed an increasing global population while at the same time meeting demands for renewable energy and the supply of ecosystem services such as provision of nutrient cycling and carbon sequestration. However, the current structure of the agricultural system works against meeting these expectations. The spatial separation of crop and livestock farms has created negative environmental consequences, and bioenergy production has created a trade-off between food and energy production. In this paper, we explore the opportunities for ecological intensification at a regional scale made possible by combining food and energy production. We built three scenarios representing farming systems including biogas production using grass biomass and manure. These scenarios included the following: (a) The current system with energy production (CSE) from non-edible agricultural biomasses (CSE). (b) Agroecological symbiosis (AES) identical to CSE except with 20% of the arable cropping area converted to clover-grasses for use in biogas production. (c) Agroecological symbiosis with livestock (AES-LST) where the available grass biomass (20% as in the AES) is fed to livestock and manure then used as a feedstock in biogas production. In each scenario, nutrients were circulated back to crops in the form of digestate. The supply of soil functions (primary production for food and energy, provision of nutrient cycling, and climate mitigation) and impacts on water quality through nutrient losses in these three scenarios were then compared to the current system. Integrating biogas production into food production resulted in an increased supply of nutrient recycling, reduced nutrient losses, and increased carbon inputs to the soils indicating enhanced climate mitigation. Food production was either not affected (CSE), increased (AES-LST), or decreased (AES), and biogas was produced in substantial quantities in each scenario. Our study demonstrated potential synergies in integrating food and energy production without compromising other ecosystem services in each scenario.
  • Laasonen, Ville (Helsingfors universitet, 2014)
    The objective of this thesis was to study the social profitability of combustion technology in poultry manure management in the Leningrad region, Russia. The method was environmental cost-benefit analysis (ECBA), in which two combustion power plant scenarios and a reference scenario were considered. All scenarios would treat 94000 tons of manure annually over a project lifetime of 12 years. Scenario 1 (S1) is a combustion power plant that produces only thermal energy and scenario 2 (S2) is a combustion power plant that produces combined heat and power (CHP). Scenario 0 (S0) is a reference point to the power production scenarios and it assumes that the poultry manure would be disposed untreated by stockpiling or to lagoons, causing nutrient leaching to the surface waters. The final objective of the ECBA was to find out if the scenarios are socially profitable and which one is preferable. The ECBA showed that from the viewpoint of a private producer or investor and under the current market conditions and policy environment, the power plant scenarios were not profitable. However, when environmental benefits of the power plant scenarios were added to the calculations, both scenarios were found to be socially profitable. The social net present values (NPV) of S1 and S2 were EUR 21,2 million and EUR 8,2 million respectively. The reference scenario (S0) led to significant social costs, causing EUR 27,6 million losses to society over the scenarios lifetime. Thus according to the NPV criteria, S1 should be carried out, because it showed the highest NPV. For S0 and S1, the results held constant under all sensitivities, but for S2 several critical parameters were found, from which investment cost was the most significant. Implementation of economic policy instruments would improve the profitability of the scenarios and it would be beneficial to all parties that the main environmental impacts concern (e.g. Sweden and Finland). The nutrient load reduction benefits were the crucial factor that made the power plant scenarios socially profitable. The climate benefits from manure FBC were also significant although moderate if compared to the eutrophication benefits. If the future focus of policies is to reduce the nutrient loads from poultry manure in the Leningrad region, poultry manure combustion with FBC technology could be an effective way to meet that goal.
  • Simberg-Koulumies, Nina (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    In the light of increasing socio-ecological crises, there has been a surge in the promotion of, and investments in, renewable energy in the Global South. Previous theories and research, largely framed around conservative and liberal paradigms, have hailed these developments as a breakthrough. Yet, just sustainability theorists have pointed to logically plausible problems in these alternatives, suggesting that they do not go far enough and could, indeed, worsen the present crises. From these critiques, the conservative and liberal advocacy of a shift towards a low-carbon society does not, and cannot, automatically guarantee just sustainabilities. Although controversial, neither conservative, liberal, nor just sustainability theorists have empirically ascertained these claims about the nature of sustainable development. Africa’s largest wind power plant, the Lake Turkana Wind Power (LTWP) project in Kenya, provides a useful case study for this purpose. In addressing this lacuna, this thesis attempts to answer two fundamental questions related to the project. First, which are the dominant discourses on the LTWP project in Kenya? and second, what are the prospects of these discourses to drive just sustainability in Kenya? To address these questions, a range of rich data was collected, consisting of eight semi-structured interviews with key informants in Kenya and Finland, written documents including 12 news and feature articles, two policy documents and one company impact assessment. The data was systematised using critical discourse analysis (CDA) set within a political-economic framework of just sustainabilities in which wind power is dialectically linked to the dominant fossil fuel system built on global inequalities. Based on this methodology, this thesis argues that not only is the LTWP project not regarded as an environmental sustainability initiative, it is mostly understood as satisfying economic needs. More fundamentally, as the LTWP is realised within the dominant capitalist frame, guided by a reliance on market forces, new technologies and a search for new frontiers of capital accumulation, processes that are erected on, and typically drive, local and global inequalities, it does not address wider concerns of inclusion, raised by representatives for local communities in Northern Kenyan in the semi-structured interviews. Analytically, this evidence shows that mainstream conservative and liberal theories of development and energy are insufficient for analysing the transition from fossil to alternative fuels, let alone provide a canvass for a total liberation of the Global South. Clearly, the political economy of LTWP also calls into question the objectives of donor nations involved in the project as financiers. This evidence provides further basis to put the case for understanding alternative energy projects, particularly the LTWP under study, within a much broader framework of alternative, radical theories of just sustainabilities centred on concepts such as just land.
  • Dahal, Karna; Juhola, Sirkku; Niemelä, Jari (2018)
    Abstract Renewable energy policies are necessary for achieving carbon neutrality which is the main goal for climate change mitigation. The cities in the Helsinki Metropolitan area have committed themselves to significantly reducing carbon emissions through various climate measures including some measures for renewable energy utilization. We use multilevel perspective (MLP) and renewable energy frameworks to examine the role of renewable energy policies to carbon neutrality in the Helsinki Metropolitan area and base our analysis on various policy documents and semi-structured interviews. Our findings show that current renewable energy policies in the Helsinki Metropolitan area are weak and many challenges exist. Nevertheless, many options are available for improving existing policies. The cities have many opportunities to adopt various energy policy measures, including small-scale renewable energy production in building premises, renewable energy integration to district heating, demand-side solutions for energy utilization, and increasing budgets and subsidies to renewable energy production and enhancement of the social acceptance of renewable energy. Such additional policies are needed to reach carbon neutrality in the Helsinki Metropolitan area.
  • Saarikoski, Heli; Mustajoki, Jyri (Elsevier, 2021)
    Ecological Economics 183 (2021), 106955
    Deliberative valuation of ecosystem services is expected to capture the diversity of values related to ecosystem services and to facilitate learning and reconsideration of previously held preferences and positions. This paper reports on a study of a deliberative non-monetary valuation process that was designed to address the value of peatland ecosystem services in Southern Finland. Three parallel citizen panels were organised in order to consider the relative merits of energy peat extraction and peatland protection and to assign value to peatland ecosystem services. The results suggest that increased understanding of peatlands' role in carbon storage, together with reflection on the underlying value positions, led the panellists to adopt a more critical view of energy peat use. All three panels came independently to the same conclusion that peat extraction should be gradually phased out and replaced with renewable energy production. The results also sustain the hypothesis that deliberative settings evoke citizen preferences as the arguments used in the discussions were predominantly public spirited, referring to the common good instead of individual interests. We discuss the outcomes and factors that influenced the deliberations and make recommendations for effective deliberative designs.