North Karelia Towards Fossil Oil-Free and Low-Carbon Area

North Karelia is the first region in Finland to apply for a membership in the Carbon Neutral Municipalities (CANEMU, HINKU in Finnish) network. Resource efficiency, low-carbon society and bioeconomy are central themes in regional strategies. The long-term goal is to turn North Karelia into a carbon neutral and over self-sufficient region in renewable energy production where fossil oil is not used in energy production.

Net reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 80 %

  • HINKU municipalities aim to reduce ghg-emissions by 80 % from 2007 level until 2030 inside the municipalities borders
  • HINKU brings municipalities, businesses, citizens and experts together to create and carry out solutions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
  • The project aims to create solutions that have economic and social benefits as well as environmental advantages.

In North Karelia nine out of thirteen municipalities have joined HINKU network.

HINKU municipalities altogether have reduced greenhouse gas emissions -22 % from 2007 until 2014. In North Karelia greenhouse gasses have reduced -21 % at the same time period. Lots of work has been done with replacement of fossil oil in energy production and in the future actions must be directed to transportation sector. Road transportation produces a quarter of the greenhouse gasses in the area.

Locally – Renewably – Efficiently

Climate and Energy Program of North Karelia 2020

Forests and forestland in North Karelia absorbs a total of 3 million tonnes of greenhouse gases. About 84 % of the total land area of the region is covered in forests, of which one third is swamp. The forests of North Karelia are a large carbon sink and the role of forests on the carbon balance of the region is important. Maintaining the current forest area is crucial for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

North Karelia Towards Oil-Free and Low-Carbon Area –project

Regional Council of North Karelia together with Finnish Environment Institute has started a project North Karelia towards oil-free and low-carbon region which aims to reinforce the forerunner status of North Karelian municipalities and SMEs in introducing energy efficient, renewable energy, low-carbon and cleantech solutions. Improvement of energy efficiency and increasing the use of renewable energy in municipalities strengthens pioneer markets for development of entrepreneurship in the industry at a regional level.

Roadmap for fossil oil-free and low-carbon area

How can we achieve the targets?

We are looking for the actions and the steps we have to take to become fossil oil-free and low-carbon region. Main sectors for the roadmap are: Energy, Transport, Land-Use, Natural resources and bioeconomy, Circular economy, Innovations and know-how.

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Abandonment of fossil oil used for heating by the year 2020

Fossil oil that is used for heating will be replaced with renewable energy sources by 2020. This will be achieved by either replacing the fossil oil that is currently used for oil heating systems with bio-oil or by investing in alternative heating systems. Already now, practically all municipal centers and the largest population centers in the region are heated by district heat that is mainly generated by wood energy. However, oil is used in the production of district heat to smoothen consumption peaks and during maintenance shutdowns. There are around 7,500 properties in North Karelia which have fossil oil as a primary source of heating.

At the moment usage of fossil oil for heating is about 65 000 000 litres every year. Share of the fossil heating oil in primary energy consumption in North Karelia is 5 %.  Share of the renewable energy in primary energy consumption in North Karelia is 66 %, Energy self-sufficiency 63 %. Total energy consumption (includes transportation) 12 000 GWh per year.

Abandonment of fossil transport fuels by the year 2030

Currently around 140 million litres of fossil fuels are used in transport in North Karelia every year.

Out of this amount some 62 million litres is petrol and around 77 million litres is diesel. These will be replaced with bio fuels and electricity. In practice, the share of biofuel as a blending component will grow. Greenhouse gases from transportation are the biggest challenge for North Karelia regarding to target for net reduction of greenhouse gases.

The share of renewable energy of total energy consumption will be 100 % by 2025

In 2014 66 % of the primary energy consumption was produced with renewable energy. The aim is to become a self-sufficient region in renewable energy production (by the year 2025).


Growth in the turnover of bioeconomy

The aim is to increase the annual turnover of the bioeconomy sector in North Karelia by one billion euros by the year 2025 (compared to that of 2014, 1.7 billion €).

Forest-bioeconomy is an essential theme in the North Karelian application of smart specialization. It is based on more innovative utilization of our forest resources.

How can we extend woods value-chain and where do we find more added value in Forest Bioeconomy sector? How can we utilize our forests more innovative and more sustainable way?

Increasing the use of wood energy from 51 % to 64 % of total energy usage

The aim is to raise the share of wood energy in total energy consumption from 51 percent to 64 percent by 2020. At the same time, the objective is to increase the annual use of wood in a sustainable manner by 1 million m3 (by 2025).