“The production volumes and electricity consumption of competitive forest industry factories will increase over the long term, in spite of the ongoing structural change. Forest industry companies estimate that, by 2020, their electricity needs will once again have increased to 27–28 terawatt hours, i.e. the level, which prevailed prior to the economic downturn. Electricity consumption will hover around the 32 terawatt hour mark in 2030, as wood will be processed in diverse ways and the value-added input has been increased further,” Finnish Forest Industries Federation Senior Vice President Stefan Sundman points out.
Our country remains home to 52 pulp, paper or paperboard mills, and the availability of competitively priced electricity is of great significance to their development. The production volumes of successful mills have grown during the structural change and this development will continue if the domestic operating environment is strengthened.
Cost-competitiveness of energy-intensive export industries established domestically
Half of the value-added generated by the forest industry will, in future, come from new products and products grades that have been processed to an ever-further degree and in whose manufacture electricity plays an even more important role than at present. The industry aims to double the value of its products and services by 2030 – this goal also means that more emission-free electricity will be needed.
The opportunities the forest industry provides in relation to the bioeconomy should be taken full advantage of. If 3-5 biorefineries were built in Finland, they would consume 1.5-2.5 terawatt hours of grid electricity in total. Electricity is the second-most significant production component of biodiesel after wood raw material. Biorefineries make it possible to generate the maximal value-added from wood because they enable the production of, for example, biochemicals, composites, nano-products and transport biofuels from wood’s constituents.
The progress of projects related to the manufacture of the forest industry’s new products requires Finland to adopt long-term energy policies, which safeguard our country’s cost-competitiveness. Government decisions on nuclear power, energy taxation and feed-in tariffs have a significant impact on the profitability of the forest industry’s new domestic investments.
When the State encourages investments that increase electricity production, it also promotes the locating of industrial manufacturing operations in Finland. Limiting electricity production because of low growth projections would be an economic policy that turns the most pessimistic future scenarios into a reality.
Stefan Sundman, Senior Vice President (Energy and Environment), Finnish Forest Industries Federation,
tel. +358 9 132 6611, +358 40 535 0501.