Finland starts to get the idea

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Finland is at long last gaining a toehold in the global wind power sector, installing 33 MW last year. While modest, the new capacity represented a 30% increase in Finland's wind power during 2008 and raised wind energy's share of total electricity consumption to 0.3%, up from 0.2%. The country now has 143 MW turning. This year is set to see the biggest increase yet, with 54 MW lined up for grid connection. Domestic turbine producer Winwind is also growing rapidly, having gained the state of Abu Dhabi as a significant investor in the guise of Masdar, the multi-billion dollar renewable energy subsidiary of Abu Dhabi's Future Energy Company.

Government support for wind power is improving, with a plan under consideration to improve capital grants to new plant and target 3 GW of wind power by 2020. Officials have specifically noted high quality wind resources along coastlines. But the country's grid operator says EUR 4.4 billion must be invested in expanding transmission capacity before so much wind power can be included in the system. Current plans are to invest EUR 1.6 billion for strengthening the grid up to 2018.

A key event in 2008 for Finland's wind industry was the connection to the grid of PVO-Innopower's 30 MW Kemi Ajos wind farm of ten Winwind 3 MW turbines. In another project, two more Winwind 3 MW turbines were erected in the Oulunsalo plant in west-central Finland. Projects planned for 2009 include a 28 MW installation by Räjäkiiri Oy at Tornio Röytta, in northern Finland, while Hyötytuuli Oy plans to construct as much as 18 MW at the Raahe 11 wind farm in the north-west. Ålands Vindenergi, one of Finland's biggest wind farm operators, hopes to complete the installation of between 12-24 MW at Eckerö Långnabba, in the Åland archipelago off the south-west coast.

In the manufacturing sector, Masdar says its 33% stake in Winwind will quadruple wind turbine manufacturing capacity and allow the company to establish a factory in India to serve the Asian market and eventually the Middle East.

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