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FFIF: More nuclear strengthens future prospects of Finnish forest industry

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FFIF: More nuclear strengthens future prospects of Finnish forest industry

June 30, 2010 - 20:03
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HELSINKI, July 1, 2010 (Press Release) -The decision by Finland's parliament to grant permits for two new nuclear power plants will increase the supply of electricity and thus improve the forest industry's future prospects in Finland. The upcoming state budget negotiations have the opportunity to look at possibilities for rectifying shortcomings in national energy taxation. Bioenergy production must also be developed in a way that does not endanger the supply of raw material for the industry.

Finland's energy taxes are higher than those of competitor countries, and the intention has been to lower this burden by, among other measures, developing the system for refunding excessive energy taxes. If this so-called energy tax trimmer is not adjusted within the limits allowed under the pertinent EU Directive, the energy taxes paid by the forest industry threaten to increase by some €80 million annually.

In addition to more nuclear power, new renewable energy production must be built. It is important to ensure a diverse foundation for energy production to supply increasing needs. A steady supply of raw material for the forest industry has to be safeguarded during any follow-up preparation of subsidy decisions that affect the energy use of wood - as the Government has promised. Taxpayer money must not be used to steer processable wood into combustion.

It is possible to increase the amount of forest biomass available for energy generation by promoting its market entry. The majority of energy wood is collected in conjunction with forest management and timber harvesting activities in commercial forests.

The forest industry produces 70% of Finland's renewable energy. The most cost-effective way of promoting renewable energy production in Finland is to look after the development of the forest industry's operations because renewable energy is generated as part of the production process.

The forest industry's electricity consumption contributes to the wellbeing of Finland as a whole. The forest cluster earns a third of national net export revenues. The taxes and salaries paid by the export sector keep society's wheels turning and fund public services.