Integration of 3000 MW will mean billions spent on infrastructure

Plans by the Finnish government to increase wind power capacity to 2500-3000 MW by 2020 will cost an additional EUR 4.4 billion, at least, just to ensure the grid infrastructure can cope, says the country's transmission system operator (TSO), Fingrid. The plan is part of the government's energy and climate strategy. "We are prepared for changes. We accept that wind power capacity will increase," says Fingrid's Jukka Ruusunen. But a sizeable level of capital investment will be needed before the grid system can handle a "large injection of wind power." The TSO is already planning to spend EUR 1.6 billion to strengthen the national grid by 2018, with a view to increasing the scope for reserve power generation by up to 400 MW. This amount needs to increase to EUR 6 billion to accommodate 2000 MW of wind power, it says in its revised investment strategy, which was announced in September. "Not enough has been invested into expanding the capacity of the Finnish grid in recent years, and investment into raising grid infrastructure standards, as well as modernisation and upgrading of the grid regionally, has also been lax. This is why this new investment program is important," says Ruusunen. The government, which holds a 12% stake in Fingrid, is examining a number of tax incentives, capital grants and production subsidy proposals as part of a plan to encourage private sector investment in wind power.

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