The two companies joined forces in December to look at the commercial feasibility and implications of constructing a wind farm. ABB is midway through carrying out wind measurements and is due to complete its work in July. The data will be analysed during the first quarter of 2003. The northerly location is seen as the most favourable for wind power development in Finland, helped by steady wind conditions off the Finnish coast, the north west archipelago, and off the Lapland fells.
Rautaruukki is Europe's fifth largest steel producer and hopes to replace some of its ageing oil-fired heating plants with wind power stations. Its only link with the wind industry to date is the supply of steel and tower components. The wind farm project fits neatly into Rautaruukki's state-subsidised ten year energy savings and efficiency program. The group signed a voluntary energy conservation agreement with the Ministry of Trade and Industry in 2001, which includes all of its Finnish units. The main objective is to reduce energy consumption from heating and power plant units by 10%, from 1990 levels, by the end of 2005.
ABB Finland's focus is on the development of electrical engineering components, and the supply of generators for wind turbines. For the Raahe project, ABB is expected to use 1.5 MW turbines. Its co-operation with Rautaruukki is ABB's latest wind farm project in Finland.
In November 2001, the company announced plans to construct 17 turbines on Harvungon island, Korsnas. ABB says it is talking with "various possible partners." Local community groups, meanwhile, have pledged to block planning approval. ABB is not expected to lodge a formal planning application until August at the earliest. It is also proposing coastal wind farms at Hanko in the southwest and at Simo, south of Rovaniemi on the northwest coast. The Hanko project is for nine 1.5 MW units and the Simo proposal ten, 2 MW turbines.