Dry spell to follow bustling year -- Finnish consumers nix green power

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Finland more than doubled its wind capacity in 1999, adding 21 MW to reach 38 MW. The average size of new turbine was 890 kW, making 1999, "all in all, a promising year," reports consultant Esa Holttinen of Ekono Energy Ltd. "But it looks like the well ran dry pretty fast, because the market for green power did not grow as expected," Holttinen remarks. Domestic customers have been free to choose their supplier since September 1998, but the rush to buy green power from utility portfolios has not materialised.

Only a fraction of households have changed supplier and very few of these because of green concerns, reveals a study by utility association Finergy. Businesses still select their supplier almost exclusively on a price basis only. An oversupply of wind power is now at hand. "This unbalance may well lead to a collapse of the Finnish wind market before it even got properly started," says Holttinen. Only 5-10 MW of new wind is expected this year, and 20-30 MW in 2001.

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