Wind power provided 10 percent of Finland’s electricity last year

The Finnish Wind Power Association says wind farms generated around 10 percent of Finland’s electricity in 2020.

Almost 7,800 gigawatt-hours of electricity came from wind-powered sources last year, a rise of around a third on 2019’s figure.

Last year, more than 300 megawatts of new wind farm capacity was built in Finland. This year, nearly 1,000 megawatts of wind power capacity is due to be completed.

Last year, the government expanded the leasing of state-owned land to wind farm developers as part of its goal to reach carbon neutrality by 2035.

The initiative is overseen by Metsähallitus, the government-owned company that administers more than 12 million hectares of state land and water areas.

Juha Niemelä, Director General of Metsähallitus, said fostering more wind power formed part of the company’s climate strategy, with Metsähallitus making enough land available to build wind farm capacity equivalent to a medium-sized nuclear power plant.

Kuvassa on tuulimyllyjä Hangossa tammikuussa 2018.
Wind turbines on the southern Hanko peninsula. Image: Heikki Saukkomaa / Lehtikuva

Last year the government paid out a record 335 million euros in subsidies to wind energy producers, thanks to a combination of windy conditions and low energy prices.

Companies are eligible for the subsidies for 12 years from the beginning of operations of turbines that went online between 2011 and 2017.

They will begin to drop out of the subsidy system in 2023, and by 2030 the industry will be entirely self-sufficient.

At one point last year, energy prices in Finland turned negative – meaning that consumers were in effect being paid to use electricity.

Prices bottomed out between 2am and 3am on 6 February, when they fell to minus 20 cents per megawatt-hour during stormy weather that boosted wind farms’ output.

Antti Paananen, head of markets with the Finnish Energy Authority, said that there was one simple reason for the unusual situation.

“Output was greater than consumption,” he commented.