Thursday, 18 January 2007

Energy Consumption in Finland 1970-2005

The above graph compiles data from the Statistics Finland for combined consumer, transport and industry energy consumption. The figures represent end use, not energy supply, hence any losses are not visible in the graph. What is interesting to note about the trends (disregarding yearly strong variations) is that oil use and coal have stayed relatively level. This is somewhat surprising considering the growth of motor vehicles in Finland the relatively long distances for transport.

Nuclear has been seen clearly the biggest absolute growth, wind the biggest relative growth and hydro has remained pretty much what it is. Direct solar energy is for all practical purposes unmeasurable in the Finnish energy end use scenario.

Now, the situation for for Peak Oil and Peak Gas is quite dismal. Finland get's more than a third of it's direct energy from oil and gas. Any disruption in the delivery of these fuels or significant price changes will wreak havoc on both transport (liquid oil) and to some extent on heating (gas). Any disruptions in electricity production could probably be covered through other means, unless supply on Nordic markets was extremely tight.

The only alternative liquid fuel that reqisters on the consumption scale are "spent liquors" (an euphemism for waste from wood industry that is turned into bio-ethanol). While is is fairly significant in size (almost at the level of natural gas!) it does not scale well and more importantly, it is an energy loser according to estimates on the issue.

Thus, the liquid fuels used in Finnish transport are all purely fossil based (oil, some natural gas) or depended on the existence of cheap oil (energy losing bio-ethanol).

It makes you wonder how well Finland would cope in case of a liquid fuel crisis, be that a distribution disruption or a long term price increase.