Working group: Transportation must reduce its dependence on oil
A working group of the Ministry of Transport and Communications proposes radical changes to the choice of power for Finnish transport. The objective is to mitigate climate change and to improve the fuel self-sufficiency.
The vision of the Future powers in transport -working group is to completely eliminate the use of fossil fuels in passenger vehicles in Finland by 2050. This is feasible since there are a number of cost-efficient alternatives available.
The share of sustainable biofuels, liquid or gaseous, in heavy traffic should be at least 70 percent in 2050. Bus and freight distribution transport in urban areas should operate on 70 percent emission-free electricity.
In aviation, biokerosene could replace 40 percent of the air transport needs. Also in maritime shipping, 40 - 50 percent of the emission cuts should be implemented by alternative fuels and by improving energy efficiency. Transport in airports and port terminals should be a near-zero emission already in 2030.
- The working group is absolutely right in proposing such ambitious objectives for the new powers, the Minister of Transport Merja Kyllönen assesses the results of the working group work.
- As proposed in the report, the attention in the future should be paid particularly to improving energy efficiency and encouraging the use of such fuels that can actually mitigate climate change. The proposals seem to create also direct economic and social benefits, including an opportunity to improve Finland's current account. The transition to alternative powers would also open up new opportunities for regional businesses through green economy and decentralised fuel production.
The working group also proposes the intermediate goals that navigate the path towards carbon-free transportation.
For example, the intermediate goal relating to passenger motor vehicles is that all passenger vehicles registered in Finland in 2030 would be suitable for use of alternative fuels and they energy efficiency would double compared to the 2013 level. The working group also supports the objectives of the maritime LNG operational programme published in spring 2013.
Foresight adds influence
The background of the work is EU objective to reduce, through the wide range of measures, greenhouse gas emissions (CO2) by 80 - 95 percent by 2050 compared to 1990 level. Currently, oil is the main source for the transport energy, and without significant measures its share will increase as the emissions in other sectors will decrease.
- In addition to the emission objectives, the aim was to look for ways to reduce the cost of transition to new powers and to find new opportunities for businesses, tells the Minister of Transport Merja Kyllönen about the background for setting up the working group.
- Foresight is important for Finland in terms of competitiveness, but also because the regulation related to transport is becoming more and more international. We must move in a timely manner and have good arguments in order to ensure that the best policies in view of Finland will get an impetus from international decisions.
A large-scale deployment of alternative fuels is dependent on EU choice of policies with particular regard to energy production regulations and restrictions, project financing, as well as transport fuels and standardisation. The EU strong determination also promotes global measures for reducing, in particular, the aviation and maritime shipping emissions.
The powers replacing oil include, among other things, electricity, biofuels and gas. However, there are significant differences in the deployment of alternatives. For example, liquid biofuels, natural gas and biomethane are already available, but electric vehicles are still new on the market. The use of hydrogen as a fuel is still in a more distant future. Biokerosine necessary in the air transport is produced also in Finland.
Objectives and measure proposals in the report
Future powers in transport - working group's task was to assess the future of the power alternatives in Finnish transport for 2020 and 2050. The review was to cover all forms of transportation, i.e. road, rail, sea and air transport.
Senior Government Adviser Silja Ruokola from the Ministry of Transport and Communications acts as the Chairman of the working group. Members from different ministries, transport and energy sector organisations and companies, as well as environmental organisations were represented in the group.
The results of the working group work were taken in to account, where applicable, in the programme of the Ministry of Employment and the Economy aiming at reducing dependency on oil, which was published as a part of the national energy and climate strategy.
The working group submitted the final report on its work to the Minister of Transport Merja Kyllönen on 8 May 2013.
Future powers in transport -working group's final report is available on the Ministry of Transport and Communications' website at www.lvm.fi
Ms Silja Ruokola, Senior Government Adviser, tel. 0295 34 2367, 040 580 0894
Ms Maria Rautavirta, Senior Engineer for Vehicles (energy efficiency of road vehicles and alternative fuels), tel. 0295 34 2577, 040 718 5975
Ms Saara Jääskeläinen, Ministerial Adviser (transport energy and climate objectives), tel. 0295 34 2560, 0400 153 745