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Finland clearly exceeded the EU’s 2020 energy efficiency targets

Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment
Publication date 16.6.2022 10.09 | Published in English on 17.6.2022 at 7.02
Press release

Finland clearly exceeded its binding energy saving obligation set on the basis of the EU Energy Efficiency Directive in 2014–2020. At the end of 2020, the total energy savings achieved exceeded the national obligation by more than 85 per cent. All other energy saving targets set for Finland were also achieved.

The cumulative energy saving obligation of 49 terawatt hours (TWh) imposed on Finland in accordance with EU obligations for 2014–2020 required new energy savings of approximately 1.75 TWh each year.  However, thanks to the significant excess in savings, the obligation that was very challenging for many EU Member States was achieved in Finland two years ahead of schedule.

Finland was also able to remain well below the indicative maximum limit of 310 terawatt hours set in the Energy Efficiency Directive for final energy consumption, and similarly below the target set for primary energy. With savings of 18 gigawatt hours, Finland was also able to outperform the energy savings requirement of eight gigawatt hours set for central government buildings. 

“Energy efficiency agreements have once again proven that they are a genuinely effective way of promoting energy savings in municipalities and companies. In Finland, this voluntary procedure is effective and produces excellent results that exceed the targets. This is why agreements are also included in the future climate and energy strategy as one of the key approaches for improving the efficiency of energy use in Finland,” says Minister of Economic Affairs Mika Lintilä.

“Finland is number one in many areas, including this one. We are one of the few EU countries where the voluntary agreement procedure works and produces good results. Energy efficiency does not just appear out of thin air; it takes determined action and the right tools. We are clearly on the right track here,” says Minister Lintilä.

Voluntary energy efficiency agreements make a big difference

Energy efficiency agreements are the most effective steering instruments for energy efficiency in Finland. They contribute significantly to the achievement of targets and the cumulative energy saving obligation. Agreements between the central government and various sectors cover nearly all large and medium-sized energy users from the industrial sector, energy, services and real estate sectors, and municipalities.

Almost half (41 TWhcum) of the cumulative energy savings of 91.1 terawatt hours at the end of the commitment period were achieved thanks to concrete energy efficiency measures taken by companies and municipalities that have joined the energy efficiency agreements. Of the original cumulative savings obligation of 49 terawatt hours, the savings achieved through contractual activities accounted for more than 80 per cent.  

The next binding commitment period is set for 2021–2030. Due to the cumulative calculation method, the energy efficiency measures taken in the first years of the period will have the greatest weight at the end of the period, as they will have generated energy savings over a longer period. Energy efficiency measures implemented at the beginning of the commitment period are, therefore, particularly important for achieving the target.

Achieving the new EU targets will be a real challenge

The proposal for the FitFor55 legislative package submitted by the European Commission last July will further tighten the energy efficiency targets. In addition, the Commission’s REPowerEU proposal in May laid down further increases in both the absolute energy consumption targets and the cumulative energy savings obligation. Achieving significantly more ambitious targets will be increasingly difficult and costly. 

Energy efficiency agreements are also strongly reflected in the new climate and energy strategy being prepared in Finland. Agreements are one of the most effective instruments included in the strategy for improving the efficiency of energy use. Green transition requires the electrification of society, which represents a major challenge for achieving future targets. Coordination with the objective to limit absolute energy consumption will be difficult as electrification inevitably increases electricity consumption.  

Pia Kotro, Senior Specialist, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 29 504 7229.
Heikki Väisänen, Deputy Director General, Energy Authority, tel. +358 29 505 0120 (energy efficiency)
Ulla Suomi, Director, Monitoring and Evaluation, Motiva, tel. +358 40 733 9972.
Tiina Sekki, Senior Engineer, Energy Authority, tel. +358 29 505 0200.


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