Finland community clears barriers to offshore wind development

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The municipality of Korsnäs in Finland's mid-west believes it is close to agreeing a final solution that will pave the way for offshore wind development in the region. "We are aware of the sensitivities of the issue," says Anita Ismark from the Korsnäs local authority. "We are talking to all groups and communities in the hope of reaching an agreement that is widely supported and removes obstacles to plans to develop wind power." Opposition to proposed offshore development has been widespread in the municipality, particularly in the fishing community. "We are opposed to any development that further hurts fishing incomes," says Guy Svanbäck, head of the Österbotten Fishery Association. "We need more research and particularly research that focuses on how offshore wind parks could disturb the reproduction of fish and their breeding places." The breakthrough came, says the Korsnäs authority, when it said it will not licence projects in areas valuable for tourism or where their impact on island or local communities will be overly negative. The municipality has identified six offshore areas for possible development, saying that up to 100, 2.3 MW wind turbines could be located at each site. "We have proposed that wind parks will not be placed less than 12 kilometres from land," adds Ismark. The City of Kristiinankaupunki, which also wants to develop large scale offshore and onshore wind farms, is studying the Korsnäs revised proposals. Kristiinankaupunki's plans have also met with robust opposition. A year ago its energy development board proposed that six to ten projects be located two to three kilometres offshore near the coastal towns of Sideby and Skaftung. It estimated offshore wind could deliver 1400 MW of power in the region by 2016.

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