In 2016, energy consumption for agriculture and horticulture was 11,381 gigawatt hours (GWh). Power consumption increased by 1,351 GWhs, compared with 2013 when the survey was previously done. This translates to an increase of 13 per cent. Wood and field biomass based energy represented 44 per cent and peat based energy sources represented 5 per cent of the total energy consumption. Most of the oil consumption was made up of motor fuel oil. Agriculture and horticulture represent 3 per cent of the total energy consumption in Finland.
During winter 2016–2017, in conjunction with the collection of data for the Farm Structure Survey, agricultural and horticultural companies were asked to describe their use of energy. The question related to the entire agricultural and horticultural production, excluding energy consumption of the private households. The increase of the entire energy consumption, compared with the previous statistical year, 2013, is believed to partly be derived from more accurate statistics regarding bought thermal energy.
– In particular, greenhouses buy thermal energy. Bought thermal energy is often produced with renewable energy, such as wood chips, but due to the statistical method, more detailed information of the source of the raw material for thermal energy is excluded, deliberates Anna-Kaisa Jaakkonen, senior statistician for the Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke).
Renewable heating energy, tractors run on oil
The consumption of light and heavy fuel oil used for heating has decreased, and an increasing share of heat is produced with solid fuel, such as wood, field based energy and peat. The amount of energy used for drying crops is significant, and the factor that affects it the most is the humidity conditions during threshing. Therefore, year-to-year changes can be very large.
According to agricultural structural statistics from 2013 to 2016, the number of agricultural and horticultural companies decreased by nearly 4,691 farms, that is, by 9%. On the other hand, the amount of agricultural land remained unchanged, and the size of farms grew by 4%.
– It seems that the efficiency of energy consumption in agriculture and horticulture has increased since 2013. To be sure, the consumption of motor fuel oil has increased due to growing farm sizes and the longer driving distances to fields, Jaakkonen evaluates.
The significance of electricity is growing
Consumption of electricity has been increasing in agricultural and horticultural companies. This is partly due to an increase in the technology used in production facilities, but also largely due to the increase of lighted greenhouse production. Electricity represents 15%, or 1,727 GWh, of the total energy consumption. According to the calculations of Statistics Finland, in 2016, 45% of electricity was produced with renewable energy. Therefore, 777 GWh of the electrical energy consumed by agriculture and horticulture can be estimated to be renewable.