Helsinki looks into building two 200 MW offshore wind farms

Finnish utility Helsingin Energia has established a working group to look into building two 200 MW offshore wind farms near capital city Helsinki. One is slated for the Helsinki bay area, while the other would be further offshore. Commissioning is expected by 2014. The plan follows a January decision by the Helsinki municipal government, which owns Helsingin Energia, to increase the proportion of electricity the company generates from renewable sources to 20% by 2020 from the current 10%. The city hopes the initiative will slash CO2 emissions by approximately 20% from 1990 levels. The centre-right Kokoomus (National Coalition) party, the Green League party and the Social Democrats are calling for rapid development of wind power in the Helsinki coastal region by 2015, forecasting that wind could account for up to 12% of Helsingin Energia's electricity production by 2014. Helsingin Energia is also engaged in other offshore wind projects through Suomen Merituuli, a 50% joint venture with regional power group Etelä-Pohjanmaan Voima. Suomen Merituuli is considering the construction of two wind farms in Siipyy, in the Gulf of Bothnia, and in Inkoo, in the Gulf of Finland, with a combined capacity of up to 1 GW and requiring between 333 and 500 turbines. The company hopes to secure all building permits and wind farm operating licences in 2009 and to put the two wind farms into operation in 2010.