Tepid market may pick up

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Installed wind power capacity in Finland rose only marginally in 2006, up from 82 MW in 2005 to 86 MW, supplied by 96 turbines, two more than in the previous year. The slow growth is a near repeat of 2005 when just 4 MW came online. Both of last year's new turbines, one rated at 1 MW and the other at 3 MW, were supplied by domestic manufacturer Winwind. Wind generation amounted to 154 GWh, providing 0.2% of Finland's total electricity consumption, less than the 170 GWh recorded for 2005.

Next year may be better. Valtion Teknillinen Tutkimuskeskus, the Finnish state technical research centre, says "underway and planned" capacity in 2007 could be 50 MW and as much as 87 MW in 2008. The 2007 estimate is based on 19 new turbines, while the 2008 estimate is based on 29 turbines.

The wind power industry's frustration at Finland's poor market framework continues, though the government has put forward a proposal to channel windfall profits from conventional coal, oil and nuclear power to a fund for wind, biofuels and solar projects. New legislation for that to happen has yet to be presented to parliament. Meantime, the Energy Markets Commission says Finland's future generation strategy should be based on nuclear power, supplemented primarily by wind and biofuels. It wants to see a sixth nuclear reactor built. Finland is currently building a fifth nuclear plant.

Ålands Elandelslag, based in Mariehamn and the biggest electricity supply company in the Ålands Islands, is among a handful of Finnish energy groups planning large scale wind plant development. It intends to build a project in Föglö Bråttö, the island-dotted archipelago region to the west of the Åland district of Jomala. The plant is expected to comprise five to seven 2 MW turbines, with the first units erected in 2008.

Pohjolan Voima, a privately owned Finnish energy group, has applied for a planning permit and a construction licence to erect ten to 15, 3 MW wind turbines next to an existing wind plant in Kemi. The first turbines could be erected in 2007. Winwind has been contracted to deliver an initial six machines.

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