Annual Report 2014 | Suomeksi |

Future energy system – the solar economy

We believe that the future energy system will be based on emissions-free and inexhaustible energy sources and on overall efficiency of the energy system. Transitioning to a solar economy changes the way electricity and heat is produced and consumed.

In conventional energy production, the combustion of non-renewable, fossil fuels, like coal, oil and gas, provides the main source of energy. This conventional energy system,

and particularly the use of coal, burdens the environment and its total efficiency is poor. With the growth in the global demand for energy and in the consumption of electricity in particular, mitigating climate change is becoming an increasingly important issue. Energy systems and the use of limited natural resources must be made more efficient.

A solar economy provides solutions to the challenges of climate change and resource scarcity. In a solar economy, energy from the sun is used either directly as solar electricity or heat or indirectly as hydro, wind and bioenergy, and in the future also as ocean energy. Demand flexibility and energy storage are also underscored in the energy-efficient system of the future. Transitioning to a solar economy will take decades. During this time traditional production forms will be further developed and used alongside the production forms of a solar economy.

Of the renewable energy forms, hydropower and bioenergy

have in many respects been mature technologies for decades. Solar and wind power will evolve into mature technologies in the coming years, even though there is still significant development potential with both. The use of ocean energy is in the test phase; its advancement into a commercial technology may be more than a decade out.

In a solar economy, the energy system is more dynamic and smarter than today. Electricity and heat can be produced both in a centralised and distributed manner. The active participation by consumers brings flexibility to demand, which improves the efficiency of the system. In the coming years, demand flexibility will improve considerably as both the technology and the business models mature.

Towards a Solar Economy

Gradual transition to a solar economy

The energy system changes slowly, and the transition from the current energy system towards a solar economy requires technology advancements as well as changes in the operating environment over the course of several decades. The energy markets and infrastructure must be developed to enable the investments required by the change. The length of the transition period and the costs depend on political decisions, society’s priorities and investments in technology advancements of production forms.

We want to promote both short- and long-term development of the energy system simultaneously. However, emission-free energy sources that are currently in use or under development are not yet able to fulfil the energy demand of a modern and developing society. That is why we are continuing to widely utilise also traditional energy forms, but our aim is to operate also these as efficiently and sustainably as possible.

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