New law boosts wind power construction in Finland

Law removes obstacles to wind power construction resulting from surveillance radars in the Bay of Bothnia.

A new law has come into effect in Finland which removes the obstacles to wind power construction arising from possible disturbances in the operation of surveillance radars in the Bay of Bothnia region. According to the law, the disturbances in the operation of surveillance radars can be eliminated in specifically defined areas by developing the surveillance systems of the Finnish Defence Forces, for example through an additional radar. This will ensure the functioning of territorial surveillance, while promoting rapid construction of wind power in areas with especially favourable wind conditions and numerous pending projects.


The first wind power development area coming under the new law encompasses 2,425 square kilometres in the municipalities of Hailuoto, Lumijoki, Raahe, Siikajoki and Pyhäjoki in the Bay of Bothnia region. Fairly advanced plans already exist for the construction of more than 160 turbines in the area, the majority of which lack the Defence Forces’ statement confirming there will be no disturbance to surveillance systems. Under the new law, the construction of the wind turbines is now possible even if the statement is lacking or was negative.


Green light for wind farms


Wind power producers planning to construct wind farms in the Bay of Bothnia wind power area must pay a compensation fee of EUR 50,000 euros for each turbine. These payments will make up the compensation sum, which will total 18.5 million euros for the Bay of Bothnia wind power area. The new law creates an arrangement that is reasonable and equitable to all companies planning to construct wind power in a given area, now or in the future. Electricity generated by the wind farms to be constructed in the Bay of Bothnia wind power area is estimated to amount to over 1 TWh in 2020.


To ensure a rapid start, the state will participate in the financing solution in the early stages, enabling acquisition of an additional radar by the Defence Forces during the summer. The new wind farms can then begin operating on 1 January 2014.


Finland has areas with favourable wind conditions where the estimated effects of wind farms on surveillance radars are currently the principal cause preventing wind power construction. Obtaining a construction permit for wind farms requires a statement from the Defence Forces confirming that the farms will not disturb the statutory duties of the Defence Forces under normal or abnormal conditions or in a state of emergency. A negative statement has consistently formed an obstacle to wind farm construction in the area.


Source: Ministry of Employment and the Economy