Peat production decreasing in Finland

Long-term progress:
Peat production and use of peat for energy increased markedly in the 1980s and 1990s.
Short-term progress:
After the record year 2007 use of peat for energy has begun to decline.
Progress in relation to targets:
The objective is to reduce the use of peat for energy by a third from the present average of 23 TWh, by 2025. This should be easily achieved.

Peat production in Finland 1980–2012

Peat production
Source: Statistical Yearbook of Forestry 2011 and Statistical Yearbook of Finland 2012.

Over 90% of extracted peat goes to energy production

Peat extraction is highly sensitive to weather conditions, excessive rain in particular, and this causes production volumes to vary greatly from one year to another. However, when trends are reviewed across periods of several years or full decades, the impact of changes in peat policy can be clearly seen in production volumes.

In the 1980s and 1990s, peat production increased due to efforts to encourage domestic energy production. But in recent years the trend has been reversed as a response to the climate impact of peat combustion and water pollution problems related to peat extraction. Over 90% of extracted peat is used as energy.

The Government’s 2013 National Energy and Climate Strategy calls for a reduction in the use of peat for energy by a third from the present annual average of 23 TWh by 2025. With a view to the next 10–20 years, the strategy assumes that on each heating period still at least 11–13 TWh of heat energy will be produced with peat, since peat cannot always be replaced with woodchips or other renewables. According to the strategy, peat should not be replaced with coal, even though peat producers report that this is often what follows.

In 2011, a total of 62,000 hectares of land was used for peat production, i.e. around 0.7% of the total area of mires and peatlands in Finland.
 

Sources:

  • Association of Finnish Peat Industries. 2013.
  • National Energy and Climate strategy. The Ministry of Employment and the Economy. 2013.

 

Published 2015-04-15 at 12:45, updated 2016-07-20 at 12:47