Finnish investors eye Nigeria's energy sector

INVESTORS from the Republic of Finland are to invest in the energy sector in Nigeria, as part of efforts to assist the country boost its power base and jumpstart industrialisation in the country, according to the Finnish Minister of Foreign Trade and Development, Paavo Vayrynen.

Vayryne disclosed in Abuja yesterday that a trade delegation has already been billed for Nigeria next week to concretise plans on how to help the country improve on its energy efficiency and renewable energy needs. The trade delegation’s visit would last four days.

According to the minister, the delegation, expected in the country on Sunday, would be made up of representatives of 14 small and medium sized high technology operators in the energy and environmental technology, information and communications technology, infrastructure and construction, metal industry, mining, and machinery technology, financing and healthcare sectors of the Finnish economy.

The minister said the delegation would take advantage of the visit to explore new opportunities as well as examine ways to expand the country’s bilateral economic relations with Nigeria.

His words: “We have observed with great interest the strong economic growth in Nigeria in recent times. In spite of the effects of the global economic crisis, Finnish businesses have great confidence in future opportunities in Nigeria. Nigeria’s robust economic growth, fast improving business environment, favourable geographical location and vast natural resources are major assets in the global economy.”

One area that Nigerians would benefit from the visit is in energy efficiency and conservation as well as renewable energy growth, which have been a source of serious challenge to successive administrations in the country.

According to the Director of Business Infrastructure at the Confederation of Finnish Industry, Tellervo Kyla-Harakka-Ruonala, with the experience of the Finnish industry as global leaders in several energy conservation schemes, most members of the delegation would be able to share their strategies with their Nigerian counterparts on how to improve energy efficiency in the country.

“More than half of the energy consumed in Finland,” according to Kyla-Harakka-Ruonala, “is used by industry, with transportation and heating of buildings each using one-fifth, with over one-quarter of the energy consumption coming from renewable energy sources, mostly wood-based bio-energy, hydropower, wind power, geothermal power and waste.”

He said Finnish companies have cutting-edge bio-energy and clean technologies, and are ready to share their experiences on how to export wood-based raw materials to boilers using biomass, pointing out that there is a growing number of Finnish wind power plant suppliers holding strong market positions abroad.

“Wind power is one of the world’s fastest growing areas of environmental technologies, with its global market growing at between 25 and 30 per cent annually in the last decade. Energy efficiency is an issue that has become a central theme in practically every sector of the economy,’ he said.

The Confederation of Finnish Industry, he disclosed, has already launched the Cleantech Finland project designed to help market Finnish companies’ technical know-how abroad and strengthen their position in the clean technology markets around the world.

As part of its energy policy aimed at halting energy consumption growth, the Finnish government recently approved a climate and energy strategy, which details targets up to 2020 and future-oriented proposals to about 2050.

According to the minister, “the strategy is not only to boost the efficiency of energy consumption, particularly in housing, construction and transportation, but also to ensure that the share of renewable energy increased to 38 per cent of energy consumption by 2020, which is in line with the European Commission’s proposal.”


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