Offshore wind energy development only beginning in Finland

There were only a few Finnish stands at the EWEA OFFSHORE 2011 conference in Amsterdam, but several Finnish participants were listening to the interesting presentations, visiting the stands and meeting colleagues during the exhibition.

In Finland there are about ten large offshore wind farm projects under development, but it will still take several years before the wind turbines projects are ready to be constructed. There are still several steps in the permitting process to be won over. Also, the support system for offshore wind power projects needs to be designed before the construction phase starts. With the current feed-in-tariff level the offshore projects are not feasible, but the ministry of employment and economics is sketching an investment subsidy for one larger demonstration offshore wind energy project in the near future.

At OFFSHORE 2011 one could also easily see another important issue that Finland is lacking on the offshore wind development: the harbors that are designed to operate as transportation bases for offshore projects. It was amazing to see what a big role the harbors and transportation and O&M vessels had in the exhibition. There are a couple of Finnish companies on the transportation market, but the harbors have not yet been developed as the bases for the needs of wind industry. This is something that we should point out to the owners of the harbors in Finland.

The seminar sessions were extremely interesting. Personally I found the sessions about public acceptance most thought-provoking. In the Finnish wind power association that is the issue one has to deal with every day. In particular, the sessions with “lessons learned” gave guidance to the Finns on the different phases of project development. It is extremely important to learn from the mistakes and best practices of others – one does not repeat all the mistakes the others have done!

It was nice to see that the EWEA offshore conference was so popular. It is extremely important that the industry has got the possibility to meet with each other, to discuss the problems they are facing and especially to the solutions they have found to the problems. The EWEA OFFSHORE conference was again a very good meeting point. And I’m sure so will be the next one too!

By Anni Mikkonen, Finnish Wind Power Association,