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Power

Finland Set To Become First Country To Ban Coal Use For Energy (newscientist.com) 249

Finland could become the first country to ditch coal for good. As part of a new energy and climate strategy due to be announced tomorrow, the government is considering banning the burning of coal for energy by 2030. From a New Scientist article: "Basically, coal would disappear from the Finnish market," says Peter Lund, a researcher at Aalto University, and chair of the energy programme at the European Academies' Science Advisory Council. The groundwork for the ban already seems to be in place. Coal use has been steadily declining in Finland since 2011, and the nation heavily invested in renewable energy in 2012, leading to a near doubling of wind power capacity the following year. It also poured a further $85 million into renewable power this past February. On top of this, Nordic energy prices, with the exception of coal, have been dropping since 2010. As a result of such changes, coal-fired power plants are being mothballed and shut all over Finland, leaving coal providing only 8 per cent of the nation's energy.
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Finland Set To Become First Country To Ban Coal Use For Energy

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  • by PsychoSlashDot ( 207849 ) on Thursday November 24, 2016 @09:07PM (#53356877)
    Canada announced this three days ago... here on Slashdot. [slashdot.org]

    Maybe Finland will be doing it earlier in 2030 than Canada. Don't know. Now I'm wondering how many other countries are going to be first.
    • by Jzanu ( 668651 ) on Thursday November 24, 2016 @09:11PM (#53356895)
      The better question is: Which country will be last? The last to protect the health of their residents, the slowest to adapt, the slowest at actually growing their economy.
      • by mspohr ( 589790 )

        Our dear leader has a Trumptastic fascist plan to make coal great again.

        • by Lennie ( 16154 )

          If Trump really goes that way I predict economic sanctions against the US by all the other countries around the world.

    • by mspohr ( 589790 ) on Thursday November 24, 2016 @09:52PM (#53357033)

      At the recent Climate Change Conference in Marrakesh, 43 of the developing nations most threatened by climate change – who together form the Climate Vulnerable Forum – committed to transitioning to 100% Renewable Energy.
      Don't know how many of these are using coal now but they certainly won't be adding coal and will be phasing it out what they have.

      • by Mashiki ( 184564 )

        You sure about that? That's the same conference that kicked all of the media out from recording anything. AKA yet another deal done behind closed doors. People are lauding it, but likely still remember TPP. Also discussed behind closed doors.

        • One of the primary concerns about the TPP isn't that it was discussed behind closed doors, it's that the content which was leaked out was truly fucking horrible selling nations, populations, and liberty to corporations who orchistrated the deal.

          Every agreement needs its text published before it can be voted on. The closed door issue is a non issue when the debate is short, the agreements are mutual, and you don't have big pharma / MAFIAA lobbyists standing closer to the room than the media.

      • They are lobbying for payments from the western nations. India, China and other major polluting countries are exempted from reducing emissions.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by CastrTroy ( 595695 )

      Ontario has already shut down all the coal power plants. Québec is almost entirely on hydro, with no coal plants. BC also has no coal power plants. So that covers 75% of the Canadian population. We probably get less than 5% from coal. It was 10% in 2013, but that was before Ontario stopped using coal. Add in the amount of forest land in Canada, and I'm pretty sure Canada qualifies as a carbon sink.

    • It could be that the headline is correct, but the first sentence of the summary is wrong. Finland might pass a law forbidding coal power while Canada simply stops using it.

      I expect there are island nations which have never used coal power stations - they aren't a good size fit for an atoll. New Zealand might well be coal-electricity free by 2022, judging by the plans [wikipedia.org] for its only significant coal powered plant. (I'm not sure if insignificant power plants exist.) There are probably more examples I am unawar

      • Huntly is the only transmission connected coal plant in New Zealand.

        According to the Electricity Authority stats for distributed generation...

        There is no fuel type on the registry for Coal. "Other" has 120MW from 28 connections and "Undefined" 0.022 MW from 10 connections. From that it is safe to say that there is probably no other coal plants in operation in New Zealand. ( Source [ea.govt.nz] )

        Notes:
        1. The New Zealand Government has not banned coal plants but they are hard to run economically against hydro, gas an

    • by gtall ( 79522 )

      A problem might arise for the U.S. should it continue to deny man-made climate warming, regardless of whether it is real or not. If other countries (probably relying on those naughty scientists and their data) decide that U.S. products should be subject to a carbon tariff for the damage the U.S. is causing to the climate they share, then the U.S. will find it's economic might decreased. The longer the U.S. denies and the higher that tariff, the more damage to the U.S. will ensue. China is already on the cli

  • Finnished (Score:4, Funny)

    by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Thursday November 24, 2016 @10:04PM (#53357085) Journal

    Stupid Finnish SJWs. Next they'll be telling us they can get energy from heat trapped underground. Sad!

  • China's not slowing down, and baring a miracle Trump will put the US back into coal in a big way.
  • Guess what everyone is going to get in their Christmas stocking this year

  • by dbIII ( 701233 ) on Thursday November 24, 2016 @11:29PM (#53357301)
    Steel from that part of the world has had an excellent reputation for over a century due to the very low sulphur content of their coal. Burning it to boil water is a waste.
    Also they have been replacing it anyway with tiny generators instead of the capital intensive step of new coal fired units so it's a bit of a non-announcement.
    It's like Germany announcing they were giving up on nukes more than twenty years after they had built their last reactor. The real choice was made many years before when it was decided not to build another one.
    • The real choice was made many years before when it was decided not to build another one.

      There's false attribution there in a global landscape that is hostile towards nuclear power in the face of NIMBYS fearing radiation but championing coal as a solution. Times change and the decision not to build a nuclear reactor 20 years ago is not the same as a decision not to build one now.

      That is what makes both cases an announcement. We now have policy decision decided on the current environment, not an inferred position based on what has happened under a different set of circumstances.

      • by dbIII ( 701233 )

        Times change and the decision not to build a nuclear reactor 20 years ago is not the same as a decision not to build one now

        You can do better than that.
        Think!
        What are the differences that would influence the choices between 1996 and now? The sad thing is even the "cutting edge" reactors such as the AP1000 are the same. Time may march on but some stuff doesn't progress like others and some reasons stay constant for a long time.

        Also with something like a nuclear industry once you decide to stop building ne

        • What are the differences that would influence the choices between 1996 and now?

          I mentioned the one big one which is giving nuclear renewed interest. Mainly that it's not coal, something no one gave a shit about in 1996.

          Also with something like a nuclear industry once you decide to stop building new gear you lose the people with the expertise you need to build new stuff later.

          Yes and no. The experience wasn't lost. Construction of a reactor is not specialised and through continued support of existing infrastructure vendors keep on providing all the new products you need. The engineering teams are also still there, still working for westinghouse etc because ... well they never stopped. Only in a few western countries. Construction of a reacto

  • Maybe first to ban (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Traxton ( 3986617 ) on Thursday November 24, 2016 @11:37PM (#53357351)
    But the neighbour countries Norway and Sweden haven't used coal in decades. For electricity generation, Norway is basically 100% hydro and Sweden is 45% hydro, 40% nuclear and 15% wind, solar, woodburning and minor natgas. Pressure from Denmark forced Sweden to shut down their most southern nuclear plant, so a small natgas plant had to be built(2 TWh of the total 160 TWh generated). The natgas is bought from... Denmark.
    • by vinlud ( 230623 )

      Yeah the only coal powered plant operated by Norway is on Spitsbergen, with locally mined coal

    • Norwegian 100% hydro power is subject to double book keeping. Other European countries try to meet their CO2 goals by buying green certificates from Norway, so that on paper lots of the Norwegian electrons become "coal" and lots of other European electrons become "green".
  • Not so fast! Finland's dependence on renewable energy is diluted by their heavy investment in nuclear power, currently 28% and projected to rise to 60% by 2025.
    • Is there some problem with nuclear energy that I'm not aware of?

      • by GNious ( 953874 )

        Uranium et al aren't renewable?
        (not saying anything about pollution, just that GP was pointing to renewables)

        • Technically, solar, hydro, and wind aren't renewable either - you need to consume non-recyclable resources to produce the plants. Primarily concrete for the latter two, though newer wind turbines are making heavier use of fiberglass which uses plastic resins. Solar is just a mess right now - the cost to manufacture PV panels still makes it far more costly than other power sources.

          I know there's a tendency to limit the term "renewable" to the fuel being consumed, because that's the most obvious consumab
  • Only one way forward (Score:5, Informative)

    by Kiuas ( 1084567 ) on Friday November 25, 2016 @05:53AM (#53358605)

    To replace coal, we're building more nuclear. There's one new reactor being built (actually the biggest in the world at 1700 MW [wikipedia.org], although the project has been seriously delayed and is unfortunately massively over budget/schedule due to problems with the French contractor (Areva) and one additional reactor being planned for 2024. If both of these are successfully completed, it will more than double our nuclear capabilities and increase our energy production capabilities by almost 3000 MW. and should be more than enough to make up for the gap left by abandoning coal.

    I'm a fan of nuclear, especially since we're also building the first ever deep geological repository [wikipedia.org] to handle the waste storage. It's just a shame that the project has turned out to be such a screw.up (granted it is partially because the reacrtor type - European Pressurized Reactor [wikipedia.org] - is new and has never been built before), and I'm hoping the authorities here learn something important from this: bidding these types of projects based solely on the price-tag will lead to issues. I do believe though that Areva will end up paying the fees once the case is settled, though whether or not it will actually have the money to do so (it's over 5 billion) is another matter.

    Regardless of the difficulties and the cost, nuclear is really the only way forward for us, because we're pretty much tapped out on Hydro and solar doesn't have much use here at commercial scales because for half the year the sun is pretty much gone. So if we want to be rational and dump both coal and the dependency on Russian import gas, going nuclear with modern is the only viable option at this point.

    Germany has gone the opposite direction and is shutting down nuclear power plants which is actually leading to an increase in the use of fossil fuels. Here's a TED talk [youtube.com] about why the senseless opposition to nuclear is actually harming the environment because of that.

  • With a population of 5.5 million people and a labor force of less than half that and a GDP of roughly 1/75th of the US, that shouldn't be too difficult. Similar observations can be made about Canada.

Nothing ever becomes real till it is experienced -- even a proverb is no proverb to you till your life has illustrated it. -- John Keats

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