Finland to become first country to ban coal

View of coal power plant in Helsinki, Finland.

The Finnish government has announced plans to ban all coal-fired power stations by 2030 to help meet emission reduction foals.

Minister of Economic Affairs Olli Rehn made the announcement on Wednesday with the release of the Energy and Climate Strategy for 2030 and Beyond.

The strategy details a plan to stop producing energy from coal within 14 years, make energy production carbon-neutral by 2050 and replace traditional power sources with bio-fuels and renewable energy.

“Finland is well-position to be among the first countries in the world to enact a law to ban coal,” Mr Rehn told Reuters.

According to Statistics Finland, coal-fired power generation accounted for seven per cent of all electricity production last year, with 45 per cent coming from renewable sources and 34 per cent from nuclear.

The ban plays a role in Finland’s ambitious target of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80 per cent by 2050.

“Giving up coal is the only way to reach international climate goals,” Mr Rehn said.

He said the move would reinforce Finland’s image as a “clean tech” country.

The government has previously said that it wants Finland to source more than half of its energy needs from renewables, and to halve the use of imported oil for domestic needs during the 2020s.

The news comes just a week after Canada announced it would close its coal-fired power plants by 2030 as part of its strategy to cut greenhouse gas emissions under the Paris climate accord.

Last year Britain announced plans to phase out all its coal-fired power plants by 2025, other than any fitted with carbon capture and storage systems.

Denmark is aiming to become fossil fuel-free by 2050, but it has no binding targets or bans for coal use.