Friday Newspapers: State Debt, Power Cuts, Weather Sweater | New
Growing public debt combined with an aging population is a ticking time bomb, writes Iltalehti.
He writes that in addition to the high price of electricity, consumers are being hit by runaway general price increases. In a market economy, high prices are an effective incentive to curb consumption. When you think of the even bigger crisis, climate change, government support measures should encourage a reduction in consumption, argues Iltalehti.
However, the document also indicates that any acute electricity crisis and the current high level of inflation are likely to be temporary and will certainly be overcome in Finland.
The big problem Iltalehti sees is the growing state debt, saying the biggest problem isn’t even necessarily the volume of that debt relative to the size of Finland’s economy.
It notes that, according to the Governor of the Bank of Finland, Olli Rehn, the biggest concern is how the debt is growing. Public expenditure is constantly exceeding income, interest charges are only increasing and, due to the aging of the Finnish population, the pressure on the growth of expenditure is increasing.
Many other countries are much more indebted than Finland. But the problem in Finland is that the demographic structure of Finland will cause problems sooner than in other countries.
Debt has become a habit, writes the newspaper, and higher costs for health services are to come.
“Borrowing”, writes Lapin Kansa, “has become Finland’s new dogma”.
Power shortages and blackouts
National electricity transmission system operator Fingrid has warned that Finland should prepare for power outages caused by a possible electricity shortage this coming winter, reports Ilta-Sanomat’s economic and commercial department IS Taloussanomat (siirryt toiseen palveluun).
Fingrid has released its first electricity sufficiency assessment for the coming winter months, which suggests peak consumption could reach around 15,100 megawatts. The average peak consumption for the years 2007 to 2022 was around 14,000 megawatts.
It is estimated that the production of domestic electricity will be able to cover at best 12,300 megawatts of consumption, and in addition, there is a power reserve of 600 megawatts.
The rest will have to be covered by imports. Import capacity is 3,400 megawatts, including 2,400 megawatts from Sweden and 1,000 megawatts from Estonia.
Finland generally imports electricity from Sweden, even when domestic capacity is far from fully utilized. Finland also normally exports electricity to Sweden and Estonia.
Fingrid stresses that the end of imports of electricity and natural gas from Russia has weakened the situation in Finland compared to previous winters.
The completion of the third reactor of the Olkiluoto nuclear power plant is also uncertain. Olkiluoto 3 is expected to be in regular production in December, but a possible delay in the commissioning of the plant would significantly compromise the sufficiency of electricity in Finland.
Spreading a “luxury drug”
Based on analysis of sewage samples, research shows a continued rise in the use of what HS calls the “luxury drug” – cocaine.
THL studied the prevalence of sewage-based drug use in 27 cities and their surrounding areas in March this year. The survey covers approximately 60% of the Finnish population. For Helsinki, Tampere and Turku, the samples refer to the year up to August.
The THL study indicates that cocaine use is increasingly concentrated in the capital region. The drug is not uncommon in the south of the country, but much less used north of Tampere.
On the other hand, the consumption of amphetamines is found throughout the country, but still remains lower than that of the peak year 2020.
According to the head of THL’s forensic chemistry unit, Teemu Gunnar, the increase in cocaine use is mainly due to the fact that the substance has been widely available in southern and central Europe in recent years. This is also reflected in the situation in Finland.
The Swedish-language Helsinki daily Hufvudstadsbladet tells its readers (siirryt toiseen palveluun) who are planning to head to a chalet or sit in the stands at the Olympic Stadium to watch the national track and field championships this weekend they better pull on a warm sweater and jacket.
IMF Meteorologist Hannu Valta told the newspaper that in southern Finland and along the west coast it will be around 3-5 degrees cooler than normal for the time of year over the next few days.
This translates to daytime highs of around 13-15 degrees in southern Finland and around 12-13 degrees in Ostrobothnia.
Nights are also getting colder, with the risk of overnight frosts across the country.
And, August’s dry weather in southern regions continues, meaning mushroom hunting enthusiasts will be out of luck, at least this weekend.