Finland megawatt model installed -- PVO drives WinWind in Finland

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An Helsinki-based power company controlled by major Finnish industrial and forestry interests is rapidly emerging as Finland's most dynamic wind energy technology participant. Pohjolan Voima Oy (PVO) is shining as a lone bright star in a market which has yet to embrace wind generation as a serious contender for replacing coal, peat and oil fired production.

The PVO's group's latest headline making initiative is routed through its newly incorporated technology affiliate, WinWind Oy, which has delivered the first Finnish built 1 MW wind turbine to Oulun Energia Oy (OEO), a power company in the northwest of Finland. WinWind is owned by PVO's subsidiary, PVO-Engineering Oy, and the Oulu-based companies Suomen Head Eco Technologies, Sahko-Rantek Oy and Voimarakenne Oy. The WWD-1 unit has been designed for maximum efficiency in lower wind speeds.

It was commissioned in August at Vihreasaari, to the north of Oulu and is expected to produce 2600 MWh a year, sufficient to cover the annual electricity needs of 100 to 120 homes in the Vihreasaari area, says the company. All key components of the unit, excluding the blades, are manufactured in Finland. The indigenous production content of the plant is in excess of 70%.

Greater efficiency has been achieved by PVO-Engineering, the machine's designer, using a low-revolution gear box with no rapidly rotating parts, reducing the prospect of breakage and decreasing mechanical wear and tear, says the company. Together with precise dimensioning of other components, PVO adds that the plant's lifespan has been raised from 20 years to 30. The tower height and rotor diameter of the WWD-1 unit are both 56 metres. The design is based on German technology research by Geor Böhmeke, who in the past worked for German engineering consultants Aerodyn of Germany, says Erkii Kunnari of WinWind. He adds that WinWind is initially targeting Scandinavian markets.

Conventional background

PVO-Engineering's main business is in the design and construction of conventional power plants and power transmission networks. Its engagement in renewable energy resource technology has emerged over the past two years.

The significance of PVO's involvement in wind power generation in Finland is evident from the company's decision in January 2001 to establish PVO-Innopower Oy, a subsidiary for the development of new energy technologies, and principally wind power. PVO-Innopower will design and build new power plants based on novel energy technologies.

Since 1998, PVO has been evaluating the technical, economic and legal requirements of building a large offshore wind plant. The most likely location for the project is on one or more islands west of the western coastal city of Kokkola. An environmental impact assessment of the Kokkola proposal is planned for the autumn. Theoretically, the maximum generation capacity of the power plant is 300 MW and it could meet around 1% of Finland's annual electricity consumption.

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