Finnish project could be pushed on to land

FINLAND: A Finnish developer may have to move a 400MW offshore mega-project that is key to the country's wind ambitions onto land, amid concerns that it could damage the coastline.

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PVO-Innopower (PVOIP) may be required to alter its huge proposed wind farm in the Kristiinankaupunki area, following a report by the city's Health and Environment Safety Unit (Hesu). "Our concern is that the coastal area planned for this wind farm may not be the best choice, and that it may not fit well with the landscape in a visual sense," says Hesu senior environmental inspector Barbro Lundberg.

Hesu's preliminary conclusion supports relocating the project onshore but says this can be done by PVOIP without compromising the cost or value of the project. "We believe this project would work even better onshore but this is a matter for the developer," says Lundberg.

The project is large in terms of capital cost and size by Finnish standards. The company is hoping to install 80 3MW to 5MW turbines, with a potential capacity of 240-400MW. "A wind farm of this size can change and spoil the unique landscape," says Lundberg.

The Finnish government's wind power development strategy, which has a target of 2GW by 2020, is dependent on mega-projects such as Kristiinankaupunki.

The project, if realised on time by 2010/2011, would also assist the government target of 500MW of capacity by 2012. But PVOIP believes it will come online over two to three years.

The Hesu confirmed that PVOIP has signalled a willingness to amend its plans to scale back the proposed number of units by using all 5MW turbines, while examining the feasibility of using 10MW units after 2012.

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