Environmental impacts of the national renewable energy targets: A case study from Finland

Laura Sokka (Corresponding Author), T. Sinkko, A. Holma, K. Manninen, K. Pasanen, M. Rantala, P. Leskinen

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

    47 Citations (Scopus)


    Reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and mitigation of climate change are the main aims of the global climate policy. Increased use of renewable energy is a central measure in achieving these goals. However, mitigation of climate change through increased use of renewable energy also has negative environmental impacts. Focusing merely on greenhouse gas emissions may lead to overseeing these other negative environmental impacts and thereby in unwanted side-effects. The aim of this review was to assess the overall life cycle impacts related to the production and use of the different renewable energy sources. Impacts were assessed for unit processes and for the Finnish national renewable energy targets as a whole. The review points out that in order to comprehensively understand the overall environmental impacts of the different renewable energy sources, a thorough life cycle assessment with a unified framework would be needed. Presently there is only limited information available or the published results are not comparable with each another. However, assessment using the Finnish National Renewable Energy Targets for 2020 also indicates that under the present targets, the overall environmental impacts of the renewable energy use are likely to be low. Main impacts or risks of impacts relate to the use of forest energy.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1599-1610
    JournalRenewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews
    Publication statusPublished - 2016
    MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


    • environmental impacts
    • environmental policy
    • life cycle assessment
    • renewable energy
    • risks


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