Finland?s wind energy capacity to be increased by 50 per cent this year

“It is almost certain now. Work has already begun at several construction sites”, says Anni Mikkonen, executive director of the Finnish Wind Power Association.

Last year’s objectives in building wind turbines plants were not reached owing to the fact that changes were made to the forms of support and regulations concerning wind power production.

The Ministry of Employment and the Economy has set up a working group to look further into the factors that complicate wind energy production.

The combined production capacity of Finland’s current wind farms is 197 megawatts. In the course of this year this figure will increase to nearly 300 megawatts, once the seven wind farms that are currently under construction are completed, plus the one that has been planned for the Lapland community of Tervola.

Finland’s first land-based wind farm will be built in Tervola’s Varevaara district. Last week the wind power company Tuuliwatti, owned by the S Group and the energy company St1, made an investment decision to erect ten wind turbines there.

The combined output of the 140-metre high wind turbines at the wind farm, to be completed by the end of this year, is 30 megawatts. The wind farm plants will produce enough electricity to cover the annual needs of around 37,000 apartments.

Last year Finland introduced the so-called feed-in tariff, which guarantees the producer of wind power a certain price regardless of the market situation.

Until 2015 the tariff has been raised from EUR 83.5 to just over EUR 103 per megawatt-hour. The raised tariff is meant to speed up the building of wind power stations.

Mikkonen of the Finnish Wind Power Association considers the tariff a better solution than the previously-used fixed electricity production support, which was only granted in connection with the investment decision.

“The feed-in tariff encourages producers to take on large projects, the development of which can often take between three and five years. Now government support is guaranteed. Previously this was not the case.”

The feed-in tariff, however, does not promote the saving of energy, points out eco-efficiency expert Karoliina Auvinen from the Finnish Innovation Fund SITRA. Left outside the scope of the feed-in tariff are private, property-specific small-scale solar panel and wind turbines.

”Private, small-scale production of electricity in this way would bring on a fundamental market change. Studies show that when consumers are able to produce even some of the energy they use, they immediately start monitoring and reducing their energy consumption.”