Bioenergy decision-making of farms in Northern Finland: Combining the bottom-up and top-down perspectives
Finnish farmers' role as energy producers is small compared to their role as energy resource owners. Since climate and energy policy in Finland continues favoring large-scale energy visions, additional investment support for agriculture will stay modest. To utilize fully the energy potential in farms, we analyze the farmers' decision-making environment. First, we present an overview of the Finnish energy policy and economy and their effect on farms (the top-down perspective). Then we analyze the drivers behind the bioenergy decisions of farms in general and in the Oulu region, located in Northern Finland (the bottom-up perspective). There is weak policy coherence between national and regional energy efforts. Strong pressure is placed on farmers to improve their business and marketing knowledge, innovation and financial abilities, education level, and networking skills. In the Oulu region, bioenergy forerunners can be divided in three different groups - investors, entrepreneurs and hobbyists - that have different levels of commitment to their energy businesses. This further stresses the importance of getting quality business services from numerous service providers.
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