Tour One. The Environment.
Bioenergy Power in Finland
The Earth has gotten about 1 degree Fahrenheit warmer over the past 100 years. This average increase in the Earth’s temperature is called global warming. Over the long term, continued global warming may lead to climate change, like new rain or snowfall patterns or a rise in sea level that would affect plant, animal and human life.
Many scientists believe that some things people do are helping to cause global warming. For example, burning oil, gas, or coal — sometimes called “fossil fuels” — to produce energy increases gases in the atmosphere. These gases are called greenhouse gases because they trap energy in the atmosphere (just like a greenhouse traps heat inside glass panes) and make the Earth warmer.
One way to protect the Earth from warming too fast is to save energy. For example, you can save energy by turning off the lights when you don’t need them, or by walking or riding your bike to school. Another way to protect the Earth is to produce energy from “renewable sources” — sources that can be replenished using natural energy flows and which do not create greenhouse gases. Using renewable resources to produce energy is environmentally friendly.
Solar energy (energy that comes from the sun), wind power, hydroenergy (energy that comes from water), or bioenergy (energy that comes from burning organic matter) are all renewable energy sources. Solar radiation is the source for most renewable energies. Solar radiation creates new plants and trees, makes the wind blow, and makes water flow again and again.
Today, 34 percent of the electricity and 25 percent of the total energy that Finns consume come from renewable energy sources. These sources include wood fuels (20 percent), water power (4 percent) as well as wind and solar energy, heat pumps and recovered fuels (about 1 percent).
One of the main goals of Finland’s National Climate Strategy is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by the year 2050. In order to achieve this, Finland must use more renewable energy. Finland can do this most easily by using more wood fuels to produce heat and power for homes and businesses.
Bioenergy is energy that comes from any solid, liquid or gaseous fuel or other organic matter, like plants, twigs, stems, or animal waste. Wood fuels like forest residues, firewood, bark, industrial wood residues, forest chips,
pellets, briquettes and sawdust are often used to create bioenergy. Bioenergy is renewable and environmentally friendly. Burning biomass (a fancy word for living matter) produces little net emission of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
Finns use more bioenergy than any other industrialized country. The share of bioenergy Finland uses to produce electricity (12 percent) is the highest in the world. Finland’s use of recovered fuels, wind and solar energy as well as heat pumps is still small, but it’s spreading rapidly. When biomass is burned, it produces heat. Most power plants capture this heat by boiling water to generate steam. This steam turns turbines and drives generators that convert the energy produced into electricity.
Most Finnish apartments are heated with district heating, or heat generated by a central plant for an entire neighborhood or area. 13 percent of district heat generation comes from wood fuels. Oil, electricity, wood and heat
pumps are used to heat detached houses.
Since 1995, Finns have been able to choose their electricity supplier and therefore the source of energy used for their electricity. Wind and bioenergy are often used for electricity production. Bioenergy can be used to power residential and public buildings as well as industrial buildings and processes.
Many countries are used to using fossil fuels like oil, gas and coal to produce energy. Sometimes, using fossil fuels is easier and cheaper than using bioenergy. And not all countries have the technology to use bioenergy.
Bioenergy is environmentally friendly because it is renewable and its use does not cause greenhouse gas emissions.
Building plants to convert bioenergy into electricity or fuel will create new jobs. Using bionergy will also create new markets for farmers, who can grow bioenergy crops and make better use of farming waste.
- Bioenergy can be made of
2. How can we protect the earth from warming?
- by using bio energy
- by keeping houses cold
- by sunbathing
- by never running
3. Which county uses bioenergy the most?
4. Many countries don’t use bioenergy because it is
- too expensive
- made of oil