Finnish companies look at Gulf of Bothnia

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Plans to build Finland's biggest wind farm -- a 500-800 MW project off the coast of Oulu-Haukiputaan, in the northern part of the Gulf of Bothnia -- have been unveiled by a joint venture comprising two of the country's leading wind developers. Pohjolan Voima OY (PVO) and Oulu Energy hope to start construction on the offshore project in 2011. Costing between EUR 1 billion and EUR 1.6 billion, it will comprise up to 162 turbines. "The first stage in 2011 is realistic only if everything goes according to plan and there are no technical nor planning delays, and equipment deliveries happen on time," says Lauri Luopajärvi of PVO, which holds an 80% stake in the joint venture. Luopajärvi adds that a start date of 2012 "is probably a more realistic schedule." Work on the environmental impact assessment has begun, with a final report expected by the end of this year. "We will be in a better position once this part of the project is finished to work on a more precise construction timetable," says Luopajärvi. Finland's total wind capacity currently stands at around 130 MW, all from onshore plant.

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