Finland plans for self reliance through a hydrogen network

Finland announced plans to build a hydrogen transmission network to help reduce carbon emissions and bolster the long-term security of its energy supplies.

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

Finland has several alternative sources of energy, including nuclear, but is interested in expanding the use of hydrogen, which can help reduce carbon emissions if it is produced using renewable electricity.

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

She said the network, which will take years to complete, would consist of three "hydrogen valleys", with two of them on the western coast near existing wind power infrastructure and one in southeastern Finland.

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

Construction will start in southeastern Finland near the Russian border with a 15-kilometre (9-mile) hydrogen pipeline from chemicals producer Kemira's fertilizer plant in Joutseno to steelmaker Ovako's plant in Imatra, Saarikko said.

"Also from the perspective of security of supply, we will ensure that these infrastructure networks that are considered such important strategic state assets, will remain in our own hands, just as it is for natural gas and electricity," she said.