A long way from achieving modest target -- Finland's slow progress

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While wind capacity installed in Finland in 2004 may have been substantially more than that managed in 2003, the addition of just under 30 MW last year gives little cause for jubilation. Although an improvement on the 10 MW achieved in 2003, it still leaves the country way short of fulfilling its ambition for 500 MW of wind power by 2010. Indeed, by the end of 2004 it had around 80 MW in the ground, with wind power meeting just 0.1% of Finland's electricity demand.

Fifteen turbines were installed in six projects in 2004 (table). The largest was Suomen Hyotytuuli's ยค25 million 11.5 MW Raahe wind plant in the north west. Comprising five Bonus 2.3 MW turbines, it is the country's largest wind farm to date. Finland's first 3 MW machine, supplied by the country's only indigenous turbine manufacturer, WinWind, was installed in Oulu harbour's western district and Germany's Enercon supplied seven of its 2 MW machines for two projects totalling 14 MW.

For WinWind installation of its 3 MW machines was just one of the highlights of the year. With industrial technology group Proventia Oy increasing its shareholding in the company to 55% by the end of the year and Finnish Industry Investment taking an additional 10% stake, WinWind's financial security was boosted, enabling it to pursue its international expansion plans. It won its first contract for the Swedish market-to supply a 1 MW machine for installation in the municipality of Vara, west of Gothenburg. Marketing was stepped up in France, Portugal and Spain, while to target the Asian markets, the company formed a joint venture with China's Harbin Hafei Mechanical & Electrical Products Manufacturing for the production and sale of WinWind turbines.

New measures

While WinWind may be looking overseas to secure its future, Finland's government remains adamant the 500 MW by 2010 domestic target can be achieved. Its 2005 spring budget will include new measures to increase support for wind development, says environment minister Jan-Erik Enestam. "Larger and well funded ambitious projects must be encouraged," he told members of parliament in November. "The developers of wind farms can look forward to favourable treatment."

He concedes that meeting the wind target will not be easy. "The present government is serious about this target. We intend to look at the planning regulations to see what might be done to remove any unnecessary obstacles."

A series of plans for potential projects are being talked up. Some local authorities have joined forces with a view to pursuing large wind projects, with one preliminary proposal even raising the possibility of installing some 1200-1500 MW in offshore wind capacity in an area off the west coast.

The brainchild of Korsniemi municipality, the "super offshore wind farms" would be located around 10-20 kilometres off the coast in an area of around 300 square kilometres, it says. This area could "comfortably hold" 600 wind turbines with a power rating ranging from 2 MW to 2.5 MW, says the Korsniemi authority.

Meanwhile, developer PVO Innopower plans to build three to six onshore wind farms in the north west, with a combined capacity of 50 MW, while power company Kotkan Energia Oy's 6 MW plan for the Pyhtaa archipelago is at an advanced stage in the planning process. The only project confirmed to proceed this year is a 10.8 MW wind farm planned by developer Ålands Vindenergi Andelslag (AVA) for the Nyhamn area of the Åland archipelago (Windpower Monthly, October 2004). It will use six Enercon 1.8 MW turbines.

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