Market Status: Finland - Little progress as country waits for feed-in tariff

All eyes will be on Finland's expected feed-in tariff in 2010. This was to have been introduced in the first quarter of the year, but because of delays in the drafting process, the necessary bill is now not expected to reach parliament until the summer or early autumn.

This effectively means the Ministry of Employment and the Economy (MEE), which is sponsoring the bill, will not be able to introduce the new system until January 2011 at the earliest.

The MEE outlined its plan for a feed-in tariff for wind power in April 2009, offering a guaranteed price of EUR83.5/MWh over a 12-year term. The ministry's working group suggested that, under the scheme, the difference between the market price of electricity and this target level would be paid to wind power producers as a feed-in tariff.

Based on this model, and assuming a EUR50/MWh market price, the premium guaranteed by the feed-in tariff would be EUR33.5/MWh. The producer would gain the remaining portion of income from selling the electricity produced.

The MEE plan would pitch tariff levels somewhat higher in the initial stages to facilitate the expected rapid launch of investments.

The government is hoping the feed-in tariff will facilitate its 2020 target of raising wind power capacity above 2GW, an annual average increase in capacity of around 200MW. Judging by last year's performance, it is badly needed.

The promise of lots of new turbines has failed to become a reality. Instead, only 4MW of new capacity was added in 2009, as investors and wind farm developers put big projects on hold in anticipation of the long-awaited feed-in tariff. Due to decommissioning of broken turbines, total capacity rose to only 146MW from 143MW in 2008.

Two companies, St1 Suomi and Lin Energia, were responsible for the two wind turbine projects in 2009. Lin Energia erected a 1MW wind turbine in Laitakari, in the Bay of Bothnia, while St1 put up a 3MW turbine at Pori, on Finland's west coast. Both projects were onshore and used turbines from Finnish manufacturer Winwind.

The number of wind projects currently at the planning or consultation stages have the potential to deliver a minimum of 5.5GW and a maximum of 8GW, if the projects are realised, according to figures by VTT, the Finnish state technical research institute.

According to the VTT data, which covers projects that are planned or at the pre-feasibility study stage, new onshore wind power capacity could grow by 1.4-2.2GW by 2015, while offshore capacity could reach 4.1-5.8GW.

Projects planned in 2010 have the potential to deliver up to 170MW of new wind power capacity if all the earmarked schemes are constructed as proposed, according to VTT data.

Some Finnish wind projects planned in 2010
Rajakiiri Tornio 40
EPV Tuulivoima Narpio 30
Alands Elandelslag Stenama 28
Alands Elandelslag Foglo 21
Alands Vindenergi Eckero 18
Hyotytuuli Oy Raahe 14
Hamina Energia Hamina 12
Source: VTT