The municipality of Hailuoto has approved the zoning initiative for an offshore wind farm in the Eastern area of Seljänsuunmatala, on the west coast of Finland. Metsähallitus has submitted zoning initiatives for a total of five offshore wind projects to local municipalities. Decisions on the project development and sales order will be made later this year.
“Hailuoto is known for its cultural landscape and beautiful nature. It is an important aspect when we think about the renewal of the municipality. The sea is all the time present in everything we do. However, municipal decision-making is guided by realism. We want to secure the municipality’s future. The construction of the offshore wind power project would solve many issues”, says Maarit Alikoski, mayor of Hailuoto.
“For Hailuoto, Metsähallitus’ project is well-timed, as we currently have many large issues under the review and in the decision stage. We will now be looking at the land use policy in accordance with our municipal strategy from a broader perspective and we’ll take the overall situation into the consideration,” continues Alikoski.
In Finland, municipalities have the exclusive right to decide on the zoning and construction of offshore wind power projects located in their areas. This also applies to state-owned areas. Metsähallitus, on the other hand, is responsible for the development of state-owned areas and the preliminary study of projects on Finnish territorial waters.
In addition to zoning, the pre-development of offshore wind power projects includes, e.g. combining the views of state administration actors as well as studies on the structures of the seabed and wind conditions of the area. The environmental effects and electricity transmission alternatives will be considered in the subsequent EIA procedure. Permit processes for offshore wind farms last 5–7 years in Finland.
The offshore wind farm does not restrict the use of the sea area for boating, fishing or recreation. During the construction of the power plants, the use of area will be restricted for safety reasons. The area leased for the offshore wind power generation will remain state property. The local municipality receives the property tax revenue from the offshore wind farm located in its area as soon as the project is completed.
The zoning initiative approved by Hailuoto is a part of Metsähallitus’ plan to develop five new offshore wind farms in the open sea in the Ostrobothnia coastal areas. In addition to Hailuoto, planning initiatives were submitted to the municipalities of Siikajoki and Pyhäjoki as well as the towns of Raahe, Närpiö and Kristiinankaupunki. Of these, Siikajoki, Pyhäjoki and Raahe have already approved the zoning initiatives. The total capacity of the projects under development is approximately 6,000 megawatts (MW).
Once the municipalities have approved the zoning initiatives, the development of the projects will proceed to the selection of the companies that will build the wind farms and be responsible for the electricity generation. Metsähallitus aims to open two tendering processes in September-October this year. Opening of the processes will be announced separately later.
For further information, please contact:
Ville Koskimäki, project manager, Property Development, Metsähallitus, tel. +358 206 394 021,
Hanna Kaurala, communications manager, Property Development, Metsähallitus, tel. +358 206 394 239, email: email@example.com
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