There seems to be a bit of a Finnish Energy crisis, there is certainly an old adage when in a hole stop digging… As described by this blog recently the nuclear power plant in Finland is way over cost and behind schedule. It was with a sense of disbelief I read today that not only the Finnish thinking of ordering a nuclear reactor, not only that, but from Russia!
The Finnish have always had an interesting relationship with their vastly bigger neighbour since they broke away. They were the only democratic country to fight on the Germans side in WWII (to fight the Soviet Union), although they switched sides and fought a brief war to kick German troops out. After the war Finnish foreign policy reversed so much so that they became known as the democratic member of the Soviet Block. You can see why when it comes to energy. Finland relies on Russia for 100% of its gas and the overwhelming % of its other fossil fuel imports, almost half its nuclear fuel along with 28% of its electricity.
However, lets not exaggerate on the face of it this does not denote a Finnish Energy crisis. The quantity of fossil fuels the Finns use compared to most other countries is negligible. Renewables contribute 36% of all energy, mainly in the form of biomass, although there is a growing wind energy sector, some hydro and even a small amount of solar PV. The Finns have a fantastic network of district heating systems which provide most domestic heating and very well insulated buildings. If the Finns want to reduce their energy dependence on Russia then buying a Russian reactor seems a funny way of going about it. Even stranger is that they are going down this route after the disasters at Olkiluoto.