Finland's rather spluttering historical track-record on wind development may be about to change, as the government gears up to finalising the fine print on an ambitious program of investment to significantly scale up wind's contribution to electricity supplies.
The government wants renewables capacity to double by 2020, rising to 4 GW in total - wind would account for up to half of this total, it says in its Long-term Climate and Energy Strategy Report (LCESR), published in October. In other words, its plan is for the increase to come from wind power alone.
Its plan is for 700, 3 MW turbines to be installed over the next 11 years. Output from that capacity would reach 6 TWh, or 6.12% of national electricity demand in 2020, forecast at 98 TWh. "Producing more of our power from renewable sources is about to become more important in future energy planning in Finland," says environment minister Paula Lehtomaki.
"Wind power is now regarded in Finland as a renewable resource that has been under-valued and that has immense development potential."
At present, total installed wind capacity stands at just 143 MW from 118 turbines (Windpower Monthly, March 2009). To achieve the increase required by 2020, several tax incentive, capital grant and production subsidy proposals are currently being reviewed. A system of standard offer contracts, offering guaranteed wind power purchase prices, is widely expected to be the Finnish government's instrument of choice. Industry calls for the introduction of a green certificates system has not yet caught the government's imagination.
"Our long-term target is to become a nation that is self sufficient in electricity generation and that produces clean energy," says economy minister Mauri Pekkarinen. Finland's target under the EU renewable energy directive to increase renewables' share in energy supply to 38% by 2020.
Gerard O'Dwyer, Windpower Monthly