Finland has the potential to significantly increase both onshore and offshore wind power production, as the capacity of planned wind power projects has increased by around 84 % over the last six months. According to a review by the Finnish Wind Power Association (FWPA) in May, most of the growth in project volume is coming from offshore, but there is also growth in onshore wind projects. If implemented, the investments could cover Finland’s entire energy consumption. Industrial investments need emission-free electricity to be made and wind power can meet this demand quickly and cheaply.
In FWPA’s biannual review of planned wind power projects, the number of offshore wind projects in Finland has doubled and the number of onshore wind projects has increased by 17 % since last November. Onshore wind projects also show that a significant number of projects have progressed from the pre-consultation stage to the environmental impact assessment and planning procedure, and the likelihood of projects being realized has increased. In total, more than 121 GW (121 415 MW) of wind power projects are currently pending in Finland, of which about half are onshore and half offshore.
“Even conservatively calculated, the projects currently in the pipeline would generate more than 450 TWh of electricity per year, which exceeds Finland’s current total energy consumption. Currently, Finland’s annual electricity consumption is around 85 TWh. The Confederation of Finnish Industries estimates that electricity demand in Finland could even double or triple by 2050. A prerequisite for low-emission industry is the availability of large amounts of clean electricity, which must also be quickly buildable. Wind power is the solution,” says Anni Mikkonen, CEO of the Finnish Wind Power Association.
“Not all projects in the planning stage will eventually actualize, but in order to bring viable projects to the finish line in Finland, we need to ensure that spatial planning, permitting and appeal processes are clear, transparent, smooth and fast. It is now also important that the new Finnish government does not take any action that would scare off investors planning to invest or discourage municipalities from planning wind power projects in their areas,” Mikkonen continues.
On average, it takes 5 to 7 years to plan and permit a wind power project, after which construction is fast. However, some planned projects are stalled for long periods of time due to congested regulatory processes. These processes could be speeded up without compromising people’s ability to influence planned projects in their neighbourhood.
Finnish industry gets to showcase its offshore wind expertise
According to a study commissioned by the Finnish Wind Power Association from Gaia Consulting in spring 2023, the offshore wind capacity (33 GW) already planned at that time could bring Finland an estimated 3.2 billion in tax benefits and employ 148 000 person-years of work. Achieving the full potential benefits of the latest estimated offshore wind capacity (57.5 GW) will require increasing the degree of domesticity of projects.
“Now is also the time to respond to the need to ensure that our domestic skills and training are in place to reap the full benefits of future industrial investments,” Mikkonen states.
Onshore wind power is increasingly coming to inland municipalities in addition to coastal regions
According to the review, 56 % of onshore wind projects are in the Ostrobothnia region. North Ostrobothnia is clearly the most wind-intensive part of the country, as the majority of projects and existing wind turbines are located in the region. However, more projects are also planned in Central Finland.
The majority of offshore wind projects are located in the EEZ and in North Ostrobothnia. In addition, offshore wind power is planned off the coast of Ostrobothnia, Lapland and Satakunta.