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Cablegate: Finland Ramps Up Methane Use

VZCZCXRO1084
RR RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDBU RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA
RUEHLN RUEHLZ RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHHE #0173 0681325
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 091325Z MAR 07
FM AMEMBASSY HELSINKI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 3059
RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHINGTON DC
RHMFIUU/HQ EPA WASHINGTON DC
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS HELSINKI 000173

SIPDIS

SIPDIS
STATE PASS FOR OES/EFENDLEY
WHITE HOUSE FOR CEQ/DBANKS
EPA FOR PGUNNING

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ENRG TRGY SENV EAGR FI
SUBJECT: FINLAND RAMPS UP METHANE USE


1. (U) On February 9, econoff accompanied Sirkka Vilkamo,
Deputy Directory General of Renewables and Energy Efficiency
Division from the Ministry of Trade and Industry, to the
Ammassuo landfill (about 30 km west of Helsinki) to learn
more about methane collection and utilization in Finland's
district heating and power systems.

2. (U) The largest landfill in the Nordic countries,
Ammassuo has been recovering biogas, mainly methane, since
1996 using an impressive array of 220 gas wells. Accounting
for half of the methane collected in Finland, Ammassuo pumps
the methane to a power plant 11 km away where it produces
electricity (163 gigawatt hours last year) and powers a
small district heating boiler. At the current collection
rate, Ammassuo is projected to generate methane for power
production for at least the next 30 years. While landfills
are a great source of methane, private farms represent the
fastest-growing source for additional methane capture and
utilization in Finland. To stimulate methane recovery and
use by farmers, the GOF provides grants to farmers of up to
40 percent of the total construction cost of methane
projects. A small, but rapidly growing number of farmers
are able to run all of their operations from methane.
(Note: Methane is a greenhouse gas that is 23 times stronger
than carbon dioxide at trapping heat in the atmosphere. It
also has a relatively short atmospheric lifetime of
approximately 12 years. These two characteristics make
methane emissions reductions particularly effective at
mitigating global warming in the near term - i.e., the next
25 years. End note.)

3. (U) The Government of Finland views methane as a valuable
local source of energy and a substitute for fossil fuels in
heat and energy production. In 1997 Finnish law mandated
that methane be recovered and used for power production,
resulting in a four fold increase in the last ten years. To
further promote biogas use in Finland, the Finnish
government contracts with the Finnish Biogas Association and
the University of Joensuu to produce an annual statistical
report on Finnish biogas production and usage. Finland
currently collects biogas from a wide range of sources
including 18 wastewater treatment plants, 7 farms and 33
landfills throughout the country. While the production of
biogas from landfills is quite high (118,404 million cubic
meters in 2005), the efficiency of the collected gas is
unfortunately still quite low, with nearly one third being
flare burned. The Finnish government has mandated that more
methane be used for power production, with Ammassuo serving
as the model since nearly all of its biogas is utilized to
generate power.

HYATT

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