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Cablegate: Finland's Biogas Future Heats Up

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DE RUEHHE #0751 2770403
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R 040403Z OCT 07
FM AMEMBASSY HELSINKI
TO RUEHEPA/HQ EPA WASHDC
RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHINGTON DC
RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 3807
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS HELSINKI 000751

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STATE PASS FOR OES/EFENDLEY
WHITE HOUSE FOR CEQ/DBANKS
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E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ENRG TRGY SENV EAGR PINR FI
SUBJECT: FINLAND'S BIOGAS FUTURE HEATS UP

REF: A. HELSINKI 00131
B. HELSINKI 00173
C. HELSINKI 00580

1. (U) On October 25, Aimo Aalto and Nina Broadstreet from
the Finnish Ministry for Trade and Industry briefed Econoff
on Finland's strategy to increase support for domestic
production of energy from biogas/methane. Following Minister
Mauri Pekkarinen,s two-day fact finding mission to Germany
in July to examine German use of biogas and other renewable
energy resources, Finland is quickly ramping up efforts to
support domestic methane/biogas production by introducing a
national "feed-in tariff" (a fixed guaranteed price energy
companies must pay to biogas producers) for biogas plants
under 20 megawatts. Working under a tight timetable, the GOF
working group, chaired by Aalto, will present Minister
Pekkarinen with a recommended plan of action, including
pricing and timetables, by the end of October. If approved,
this plan will be crafted into legislation that will ideally
take effect in late 2008 or early 2009. Recognizing Finland
has limited biogas resources, Broadstreet still believes
Finland will increase energy production from biogas to at
least 100 MW in the next five years. GOF officials said the
transportation sector holds the most promise for efficiently
using biogas; however, they recognize that market conditions
are not right at this time for further, wide scale
transportation use of biogas. Lacking significant sources of
biogas close to populated areas, further transportation of
biogas to cities is not a viable alternative for Finland.

2. (SBU) Comment: Finland is still open to joining the
international Methane to Markets Partnership (M2M); however,
currently Finland is focused on getting its domestic house in
order before making broader international commitments. Aalto
acknowledged that participation in M2M would enable a sharing
of best practices at a global scale, potentially accelerating
Finland's domestic biogas objectives which include increasing
energy security by broadening Finland,s domestic energy
production and helping Finland meet its climate change Kyoto
commitments. End comment.
WARE

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