The Nordic experience in nuclear power
Following the Paris climate conference at the end of last year, the energy sector is facing its biggest challenge ever. Countries around the world are searching for pathways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. They are looking for the right balance to the trilemma of security of supply, sustainability and competitiveness. Nordic countries can offer some useful lessons, writes Lauri Virkkunen.
There is a widespread myth that nuclear and renewables are somehow mutually exclusive options. This is far from reality. While the Nordic countries (especially Sweden and Norway) are blessed with an abundance of hydropower resources, they have had to rely on other energy sources when it became apparent that hydropower alone couldn't satisfy the region’s growing electricity needs. Finland and Sweden decided to meet growing demand with nuclear power while Denmark became a global pioneer in wind power.
Today, almost 90% of the electricity produced in the Nordics (including Estonia) comes from CO2-free sources. Moreover, in order to optimize their different production and demand profiles the countries formed one the world's first supranational wholesale marketplace for electricity. While there are still bottlenecks in the marketplace, the wholesale price is usually the same over the whole area.