Finland state

Finland plans hydrogen grid for a cleaner, self-sufficient future

Finland’s Finance Minister Annika Saarikko attends a meeting of Eurogroup finance ministers at the European Council building in Luxembourg, June 17, 2021. Francisco Seco/Pool via REUTERS

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HELSINKI, June 22 (Reuters) – Finland on Wednesday announced plans to build a hydrogen transport network to help reduce carbon emissions and boost the long-term security of its energy supplies following its decision to stop to use Russian gas.

Finance Minister Annika Saarikko said state-owned Gasgrid Finland, which has so far handled natural gas mainly from Russia, would build the network over the next few years.

Finland said it would stop using Russian gas after its neighbor invaded Ukraine, and Moscow cut supplies when Helsinki refused its request to pay in rubles. Read more

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Finland has several alternative energy sources, including nuclear, but wants to expand the use of hydrogen, which can help reduce carbon emissions if produced from renewable electricity.

Gasgrid Finland will found a subsidiary that will develop the hydrogen transport network first in Finland and then abroad, Saarikko said, adding that hydrogen production would be left to private companies.

She said the network, which will take years to complete, would consist of three “hydrogen valleys”, including two on the west coast near existing wind infrastructure and one in southeastern Finland.

The government did not give a cost for the network, saying it would initially be funded by existing Gasgrid capital.

Construction will begin in southeast Finland, near the Russian border, with a 15-kilometre (9-mile) hydrogen pipeline from chemical producer Kemira’s (KEMIRA.HE) fertilizer plant to Joutseno and steelmaker Ovako’s plant in Imatra, Saarikko said.

“Still from the point of view of security of supply, we will ensure that these infrastructure networks, considered as strategic assets so important for the State, remain in our hands, just as is the case for the natural gas and electricity,” she said.

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Reporting by Anne Kauranen Editing by Terje Solsvik and Mark Potter

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