Finland maps out lease areas for 3GW offshore wind

Finnish state-owned land and seabed manager Metsähallitus has revealed the locations of two new lease areas in the Gulf of Bothnia that could support about 3GW of offshore wind capacity.

It plans to offer an area off the Pyhäjoki and Raahe municipalities in the north-west of the country, and another area further south, offshore from the town of Närpiö. Both sites are in the Gulf of Bothnia, the sea between Finland and Sweden.

Metsähallitus plans to start the tendering process later this year after it has finalised details with local authorities in Pyhäjoki-Raahe and Närpiö. 

In April, Pyhäjoki and Raahe approved zoning initiatives for around 160km2 of offshore wind development in the area. Last week, Närpiö’s city board followed suit and approved a 180m2 development zone. 

The sites are two of five that Finland plans to tender in the next few years. Earlier this year Metsähallitus outlined plans to award leases to support more than 6GW of offshore wind capacity, though did not reveal the sites' locations.

Pyhäjoki-Raahe and Närpiö will be tendered later this year, with a further two tenders planned for 2024 and a fifth also in the pipeline.

Winning developers would pay rent for the right to use their respective sites, and would also develop the projects without government support, so would need to secure payment separately for the electricity produced.

The announcement on the two lease areas' locations follows Metsähallitus awarding Swedish utility Vattenfall the rights to build a 1.3GW project in the country’s first offshore wind tender. OX2 and Skyborn have also set their sights on Finnish offshore wind.

Finland currently has 85MW of operational offshore wind capacity, according to Windpower Intelligence, the research and data division of Windpower Monthly.