By Anni Mikkonen and Heidi Paalatie, Finnish Wind Power Association
There is a lot going on in the Finnish wind power sector. Good evidence for that was the high amount of Finnish companies and visitors at EWEA 2013 in Vienna this year. Also, the interest shown towards the Finnish market was remarkable. It’s nice to work here right now!
The total installed capacity in Finland is still modest: at the end of 2012 there were 163 turbines with total capacity of 288 MW. Despite the modest numbers we can finally say that wind power development is now booming in Finland. In 2012 the capacity increased 45 %, and the Finnish Wind Power Association (FWPA) estimates the increase will continue: at least 125 MW will be installed this year.
The single biggest reason for the booming of the Finnish wind power is the feed-in-tariff system that was implemented in spring 2011. The planning of the system started already in 2009, which encouraged the project developers: the pipeline in Finland today is 8,600 MW worth of capacity including 3,000 MW of offshore capacity. So far there is only one true offshore turbine in use, but as the plans advance, that single turbine will have company sooner or later!
As said, the booming of the Finnish wind power could be seen also at EWEA 2013. The amount of Finnish companies as exhibitors stayed about the same as last year. In 2012 there were about 14 Finnish exhibitors; in 2013 the figure was 10. But one could hear Finnish everywhere! We are convinced that the share of Finnish conference and exhibition delegates of all delegates was way more than the share of Finns in European population. Wouldn’t this be an excellent reason to bring the EWEA Annual Event to Finland one day?
Also the interest towards the Finnish market seems to be high. In several conversations with delegates and exhibitors from other countries we got to explain project development, legislation, and the tariff system in Finland. The great concern of developers and financers seemed to be the reliability of the feed-in-tariff system. So once more: it is absolutely sure that the project will receive the tariff of €83.5 per MWh for the 12 years after the project has been accepted into the system. This promise is valid until the capacity of 2,500 MW is reached.
But: currently the turbines can be accepted to the feed-in tariff system only after they are installed and connected to the grid. To the relief of developers and financiers we are happy to say that there will be a change for better this autumn: the turbines can be accepted to the system just before the investment decision is done, right after the project has gone through the permitting process and has got a building permit. This will enhance the developers’ and financiers’ trust in the incoming cash-flow.
The days are getting longer and brighter up here, it’s a nice time to visit Finland! In March there is an excellent chance to learn more about the Finnish wind power market and get into one-to-one meetings at the Vaasa Wind Exchange. If you want to wait for the days to get warmer and even longer, you should visit our seminar in May. There is a wide range of topics providing insight into the Finnish market. For the first time the seminar is going to be mostly in English. See you in Finland!