Questions and answers on offshore wind power

Why is Metsähallitus developing offshore wind power?

The Finnish Government has set the goal of making Finland a leader in clean energy while maximising its climate handprint. As the administrator of state-owned land and water areas, Metsähallitus has an important role to play in achieving these climate targets.

In addition, demand for emission-free electricity is increasing. Industry, transport and our entire modern society are becoming electrified, which means that the share of electricity in energy use is increasing. Offshore wind farms are large and produce a significant amount of emission-free electricity.

It is also important for Finland’s security of supply to aim towards energy self-sufficiency.

Where is Metsähallitus planning to build its next offshore wind power projects?

The maritime spatial plan and regional land use plan for Western Finland include offshore wind power areas. The locations and projects require approval from local municipalities and launched if and when they receive the necessary municipal approvals.

Why can’t local municipalities decide whether or not an offshore wind farm will be set up right next to them?

They can. It is precisely the local municipality that decides on this, because they are responsible in Finland for the planning permission decisions that offshore wind farms require.

At what stages do local residents have the opportunity to express their views?

The opinions of local residents are requested at many different stages. Stakeholder events are organised at the beginning and end of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) procedure, and there are also opportunities to influence the municipal planning process. In addition, Metsähallitus informs residents about offshore wind power projects at local public events.

How do municipalities benefit from offshore wind farms?

There are many different benefits. For the wind farm planning work, wind measurements are needed. The areas needed for the wind measurement masts are leased from landowners. Local services are needed in the neighbouring areas during the construction period, and the wind farm owner may need local services also once the wind farm is completed and generating electricity.

After completion, the municipality in which the wind farm is located receives real estate tax. The amount of real estate tax depends on the construction costs of the power plant and the tax rate set by the municipality. Offshore wind farms are large and the property taxes from them can amount to several million euros per year.

Why are wind farms not built in Southern Finland, where electricity is needed?

Wind farms are built where the wind is. In addition, construction is increasingly affected by land use restrictions and municipalities’ approval or disapproval. In the future, offshore wind power will become more widespread, as there is space out at sea to build wind farms further away from populated areas.

What role does Metsähallitus play in these projects?

Metsähallitus launches the project and then sells the project rights and leasing rights for the area through international tendering.

Why doesn’t Metsähallitus itself build any wind power farms or generate any electricity?

These activities do not fall within Metsähallitus’ range of duties. These duties are specified in national legislation.

On what basis does Metsähallitus select the partners for offshore wind power projects?

Partners are required to be able, competent and willing to develop the project together with Metsähallitus. The partner must have expertise in offshore wind power and the resources for acquiring funding for a large project. They must also have project expertise and knowledge of the electricity market, and must make a competitive commercial offer.

In addition, as with all major international projects, these projects require the partners to have an ambitious responsibility programme in place and evidence of responsible business practices. 

How does Metsähallitus seek out partner companies?

Metsähallitus runs international tendering processes for the projects. First, all interested parties are informed about future projects. These then submit their preliminary tenders. The best of these are selected for the second stage, in which the best of all are chosen for the final negotiations. The partner is then selected based on the outcome of these negotiations.

How are the environmental impacts of offshore wind farms assessed?

Information is collected on land and at sea, and nature surveys are commissioned for fish, bird life and flora. These are then processed through an environmental impact assessment procedure that ensures that all environmental impacts are assessed and that everything possible is done to minimise these impacts. The water permit sets the requirements and monitoring obligations for the use of the water area.