Coal in Finland
Three-quarters of Finland’s heat and more than one-third of electricity is produced in combined heat and power plants. They thoroughly utilise their fuels, such as carbon, and energy is not wasted. District heat produced in combined heat and power plants represents energy production at its highest efficiency – Finland being one of the leading countries in the world.
Moreover, coal condensate power plants that produce energy play an important role in versatile energy production. They also have great significance in the operability of open Nordic electricity markets. During dry and cold years coal is the most important way to produce the additional electricity required.
Finnish import volumes of coal depend on the rainfall in the Nordic countries; the import volumes are lower during rainy years and higher during dry years. During the last 15 years the average import volume of coal has been a little less than five million tons a year. The largest import volume was nine million tons in the dry year of 2003, whereas less than three million tons were imported in the rainy year of 1999. The value of the import has been from 70 to more than 300 million euro a year. Approximately half of all coal is imported from Russia. Other important exporters are Australia, South Africa, Indonesia, Chine, Columbia, Poland and the United States. The quality requirements for coal are more rigid in steel production than in energy production. In steel production, Finland mainly depends on coal from Australia and the United States.
The transportation of coal by water from a rich opencast quarry on the other side of the world is often more sensible economically than quarrying a coal vein that is located nearer but is small and deep inside the earth.
The largest users of coal in the Finnish energy production are Pohjolan Voima, Fortum and Helsinki Energy, and Rautaruukki in industrial use.