Economic Affairs Minister Olli Rehn says he is not worried that the planned Russian-built and supplied Fennovoima nuclear power plant would increase Finland’s energy dependence on Moscow.
On Tuesday the Finnish Institute of International Affairs issued a report on threats related to Russia, in which it included the Fennovoima project. It notes that Russia has in the past used energy dependence as a way to apply pressure on its neighbouring countries.
It alleged that the government’s Fennovoima decision was political and that President Vladimir Putin is personally controlling the process from the Russian side. The plant in Pyhäjoki is to be built, supplied and co-owned by state nuclear company Rosatom.
Interviewed on Yle Radio 1’s morning talk show on Friday, Rehn said he had not thoroughly read the report, but asserted that Finland’s energy sources are diversified.
“Finland’s selection of energy sources is quite varied, both in regard to types of energy and the countries of origin and of raw materials. Of course a large proportion is domestic and hopefully in the future with renewables, even more will be domestic, particularly in forest-based bioenergy,” said Rehn.
“We are in fact not dependent on any single supplier, and one of the main goals of the whole national energy strategy is to strengthen our self-sufficiency so that our security of supply will improve further. The overall direction is specifically to raise the share of renewables to more than half of all energy production,” he said.
Russia provides an estimated 60-70 percent of the energy used in Finland.
Rehn took over as Minister of Economic Affairs last year, after a decade as a European Commissioner. In August 2015, he gave the green light to the Fennovoima project despite having harshly criticised it a year earlier.