Climate change mitigation and hydropower legislation in Finland

Eeva Maija Puheloinen*, Ari Ekroos

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionScientificpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


In connection with mitigating climate change, the European Union has committed to raising the use of energy from renewable sources to 20 % of overall Community energy consumption by the year 2020. The national target set for Finland is a challenging 38 % compared to 28.5 % in 2005. A traditional form of renewable energy is hydropower. In Finland, hydropower generates about 3 to 4 % of total energy supply at the moment, depending on the yearly rainfall. The national target set for hydropower production is 14 TWh in 2020, which means an increase of 0.5 TWh from the present situation. This subtle rise would consist of capacity increases in existing power plants and small hydropower. Although Finland is described as a land of a thousand lakes and therefore rich in water resources, increasing the use of hydropower is difficult on a large scale mainly due to national nature conservation legislation: namely the rapids conservation legislation. Another characteristic in Finnish geography is the flatness of the country; concerning hydropower, the modest differences in altitude mean smaller capacity plants generally. This paper analyses the existing environmental legislation in Finland concerning hydropower and looks at the targets for promotion of renewable energy in the light of that legislation. The paper suggests some amendments to the existing national legislation: for example, the permit procedure is designed for large-scale hydropower plants, and the administrational burden may seem heavy for small-scale plants. Therefore, a lighter procedure might ease the promotion of small hydropower. One option that would ease the use of hydropower is to loosen the nature conservation legislation at some level without risking conservation values. In conclusion, in order to achieve the goals set for mitigating climate change, some amending of the traditional environmental legislation may be needed.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCOBRA 2011 - Proceedings of RICS Construction and Property Conference
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2011
MoE publication typeA4 Article in a conference publication
EventRICS Legal Research Symposium - Salford, United Kingdom
Duration: 12 Sep 201113 Sep 2011


ConferenceRICS Legal Research Symposium
Abbreviated titleCOBRA
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


  • Climate change
  • Environmental legislation
  • Hydropower
  • Nature conservation
  • Water law


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