Water power is climate-friendly reserve power
After bioenergy, water power is the second largest source of renewable energy in Finland. Over the last few years, share of water power from all energy production in Finland has been approximately 4% and, from the production of electricity, 10-15%. With regard to climate, water power is an extremely friendly form of producing energy. Negative impacts of water power are related to changes in the natural status of the water environment, for example breakage in the natural routes of fish.
Water power is a notable source of renewable energy in Finland
After bioenergy, water power is the second largest source of renewable energy in Finland. Over the last few years, share of water power from all energy production in Finland has been approximately 4% and, from the production of electricity, 10-15%.
More water power by renewing equipment
Finland's most notable water power targets have been built already decades ago. The majority being located in protected bodies of water, Finland still has more than 2,000MW of power potential remaining in water power (nearly 10TWh in energy potential). Additional potential of built and unprotected bodies of water is 600MW (annual production more than 2TWh). (This number does not include the additional potential of the Vuotos reservoir causing controversy.) Due to environmental protection reasons, gaining additional power would most likely be concentrated on intensifying the use of already harnessed areas.
Water power - globally environmentally friendly, locally less so
Although water power seems extremely sensible from the global climate protection perspective, it is counterbalanced by many local negative environmental effects.
Power plants prevent the natural travel of migratory fishes. Land areas are covered by reservoirs built for water power, biota is destroyed or forced to leave as water conquers the land, heavy metals and other harmfus substances move from water to fish and people. With respect to climate change, the most harmful effects are greenhouse gas emissions, carbon dioxide and methane in particular, which are released from the bottom of the reservoirs. On the other hand, producing electricity with water power causes extremely little greenhouse gas emissions.
Potential of water power as a reducer of carbon dioxide emissions
Finland can increase the production of water power to some extent without interfering with already implemented environmental conservation. By 2010, 175MW of the water power potential free for building could be implemented, in addition to 235MW by 2015 and another plus 20MW by 2020. Due to economical and environmental reasons, more than 100MW of the potential will most likely not be realised.