Will Finland Have the Guts to Welcome Back Wind Power Investors?

According to Statistics Finland, Finnish wind power production has doubled during the last 12 months. Despite this fact, wind power’s share of overall energy production in Finland is less than two per cent.

Professor Peter Lund has said that wind power could make up 25% of Finland’s entire electricity production by 2030. There is plenty of potential to increase Finland’s wind power capacity, but the question is whether our government is willing to seize this opportunity by maintaining favourable conditions for wind power investors.

High Targets

Under the EU’s renewable energy directive, Finland’s national overall target for the share of energy from renewable sources in gross final consumption is 38% by 2020. This share is the third highest overall target for 2020 of all the EU countries. Only Sweden and Latvia have higher targets.

The Finnish government’s current aim is to achieve the 2020 climate objectives already during this government term, which ends in 2019. Wind power could have a significant role in achieving this goal.

Uncertainty on the Finnish Wind Power Market

We have previously written about the government’s worrying plans to cut the quota for wind power eligible for a feed-in-tariff from 2,500 to 2,000 mega-volt amperes (MVA). However, this wording was not included in the Act Amending the Finnish Feed-In-Tariff Act, entered into force on Monday 26 October 2015.

Nevertheless, it is highly likely that Finland will fall short of 2,500 MVA. This is because the Act does not make it possible to transfer capacity from an unrealised project to another project further down the queue. The wind power market in Finland is living under a cloud of uncertainty at the moment and is waiting for a clear signal from the government regarding the new subsidy mechanism.

Solid Know-How

During the last couple of years, the know-how here in Finland regarding wind power project development has taken major strides forward. This is acknowledged in the government bill regarding the Act mentioned above. It would be irrational not to fully make use of this know-how in the future.

One Major Problem Resolved

The levels of permitted noise caused by wind power generators have been a controversial issue causing uncertainty for the wind power development in Finland. The government issued a decree on the guidance values for the noise caused by wind power generation on 27 August 2015.

The night-time guidance value for noise has been set at 40 db which is about the noise level caused by a dishwasher. Before the decree was issued, wind power developers had to comply with a variety of contradictory guidance values.

The new guidance values are applied to projects entering permitting processes after the decree was issued. The new decree is a long awaited positive development, but it will be for nothing without new investments leading to new wind power projects.

The Way Forward

International investors see Finland as a reliable and safe investment environment. Finland has seen a wave of international wind power investors entering the country during recent years. Will the government quickly set a new subsidy mechanism in order continue attracting wind power investments in Finland, or will it stand by while other countries take advantage of the global growth of the wind power sector?