Clean energy projects worth $1.5 billion seek Finnish aid

FILE PHOTO: Smoke rises from the Hanasaari coal power plant in Helsinki, Finland, November 28, 2016. Jussi Nukari/Lehtikuva/via REUTERS

OSLO (Reuters) - Fifteen companies have applied for Finnish investment aid to partly fund new large-scale demonstration energy projects worth $1.5 billion, six of them replacing coal and other fossil fuels, the government said on Thursday.

Finland aims to reduce its carbon emissions and it approved earlier in the year a ban on the use of coal in energy production by May 2029, forcing some of its biggest utilities to find alternative energy solutions.

The government has promised some investment aid for large-scale energy demonstration projects that contribute to meeting national as well as European Union energy and climate objectives by 2030.

Only projects with investment costs exceeding 5 million euros could apply for the aid, said the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, which intends to allocate a total of 40 million euros to co-fund some of them.

“The total amount of funding requested for these projects was 140 million euros,” the ministry said in a statement on Thursday, without naming the 15 companies that have applied.

Of the applications, six concern replacing coal and other fossil fuels in urban areas, four are biorefinery projects, and five are related to new energy technology, it added.

The ministry expects to select the projects it will fund in November 2019.

The projects to be funded will be selected based mainly on the degree of innovation of their selected technology and also their feasibility, the amount of energy produced, cost-effectiveness, and other impacts, it said.

Reporting by Lefteris Karagiannopoulos; editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise