Finland’s goal is to be carbon neutral by 2035. As a responsible operator, Metsähallitus has an important role in achieving this goal, because its activities have positive climate impacts in many of society’s value chains. Energy obtained from wind power built on state-owned land and energy wood and roundwood delivered to customers reduces the carbon dioxide emissions caused by energy production. Nearly 800 gigawatt hours of wind energy was produced on state-owned land in 2019. As part of our climate programme, we intend to multiply this amount by 2030.
“Wind power is the least expensive way of producing energy at the current cost level, and the Government’s energy targets cannot be met without it. Metsähallitus has expertise in wind power project development and suitable sites for wind farms, so we’re pleased to help Finland move towards carbon neutrality,” says Tuomas Hallenberg, Director of Metsähallitus Property Development.
Metsähallitus’ role is to develop the projects to the point where they are ready for construction. After that, they will be put out to tender and the project rights will be sold. However, ownership of the land will remain with the state instead of being transferred and Metsähallitus will charge rent for the turbine sites.
“Demand for wind power has been increasing, and many forecasts indicate that this trend will continue over the next decade. We’re responding to this demand by increasing our project development activities. Our projects are prepared in a quality manner and they have a good reputation. Both Finnish and international companies compete for our projects,” states Hallenberg.
“Large industrial companies are increasingly using long-term agreements to purchase wind electricity,” says Hallenberg. Roadmap work in different sectors shows that the need for low-emission electricity in Finland will rise dramatically by 2035 if domestic industry implements its plans for extensive emission reductions, which are part of Finland’s goal to be carbon neutral in 2035.
The environmental and health impacts of wind power also cause concern, and these are being studied closely. For example, a new study on the impact of wind power infrasound on human health was recently completed. It showed that infrasound does not cause health hazards associated with wind power plants.
“Despite this, we still have to acknowledge that not everyone wants wind power plants in their neighbourhood, for example, because of the changes they cause in the landscape. That’s why we discuss all of our wind power projects with the local residents and try to find solutions,” says Hallenberg.
The property tax paid for wind power is one reason why many municipalities support its construction. Wind power project development always progresses in close cooperation with municipalities. Metsähallitus can make land use planning proposals to municipalities, and after their possible approval the focus shifts to determining how the needs of wind power and other land use can be reconciled. The final decision on wind power is always made by the municipality in the planning area.
“Metsähallitus has been involved in the project development of over 10 per cent of the wind power capacity built in Finland by the beginning of 2019. At this time, new wind power totalling 400 megawatts is being built on state-owned land, and the project development potential in the near future is about 900 megawatts. Once the parks under construction have been completed, companies will have invested more than one billion euros in wind energy produced on state-owned land. In addition, thousands of people have been employed through the construction of power plants and large positive impacts on regional economies have been created,” explains Hallenberg
Tuomas Hallenberg, Director, Metsähallitus Property Development, tel. +358 40 528 6069, firstname.lastname@example.org