European Offshore 2020: Finland - Odds-on

Finland's focus is on nuclear, but pipeline shows offshore interest, says Sara Knight.

Despite good wind speeds and shallow waters, Finland is not prioritising offshore wind. The country mainly set its sights on new nuclear capacity to reduce heavy energy imports from Russia, but huge delays and budget overrun in the 1.6GW Olkiluoto nuclear unit may prompt a change of heart.

Finland's current offshore wind capacity stands at only 32MW if the near shore Kemi Ajos projects are included. There is also no trajectory for offshore wind developments in the country's renewable action plan, but it does slate 900MW to be commissioned by 2020.

There are certainly plenty of wind projects on the radar. By end-August 2013, 17 projects totalling about 3GW of offshore capacity formed part of the 11GW Finnish wind pipeline.

Acknowledging that the feed-in tariff support for wind is insufficient to support offshore developments, Finland announced in 2012 that it would issue a tender for a single offshore wind project in 2013 that would benefit from a EUR20 million grant. The tender was duly announced in early July 2013 for a demonstration project with a decision to award likely at the end of 2014.

This could even set the ball rolling for Finnish turbine manufacturing. In October 2013, Finnish start-up Mervento heralded five orders, without giving further details, for a total of 60 turbines for nearshore projects that may use its 3.6MW offshore turbine. The prototype has been in operation at an onshore site since early 2012.

Current offshore capacity: 32MW

NREAP 2020 aim: No target set

Realistic forecast: 900MW