Energy

Vision 2030

We will promote the transition to a low-carbon society by increasing offshore wind production. Energy will be produced cost-effectively in marine areas, taking sustainable development and safety into account.

 

The graph illustrates the main operations of the sector in the different zones of the marine area today and in 2030 

Before After

Description

Offshore wind energy

The conditions in the Baltic Sea are favourable for wind energy because the marine areas are low, the coast is near, and connections to the grid are at a reasonable distance (B30). In addition to the wind farms, electricity transmission cables, electrical stations and other possible infrastructure items are needed for sea and land. Maintenance of the wind farms and the related infrastructure requires frequent maintenance visits (B9).

Offshore wind farms are built on the seabed, artificial islands or even floating platforms. When a wind farm is built on the seabed, the maximum depth is 40 metres. Finland has two offshore wind farms, one of which has been built on the seabed and the other on artificial islands. Several projects are in progress (B30).

In addition to the wind conditions, the preconditions for operations include connections to the grid, infrastructure that supports construction and maintenance, the foundation conditions and the availability of suitable sites (B39, B42). Other forms of land use – such as the needs of the Defence Forces, safeguarding natural values, and any adverse landscape effects – restrict the placement of wind farms. The general goal is to place wind farms primarily in a centralised manner to minimise adverse impacts (national land use guidelines).

Offshore wind construction is more expensive, but thanks to better wind conditions, offshore wind farms generate more electricity than similar power plants located on land (B42). Planning and construction require the careful consideration of winter weather conditions and the seabed (B30). In addition, the ice conditions in Finland call for special technical solutions concerning offshore wind structures.

Other energy sources

Seawater can be used to produce heat and cooling energy. For example, nuclear power plants use seawater for cooling, after which the warm water returns to cooling ponds and the sea (Ministry of the Environment 2017). Individual properties can also use water areas as a source of heat. This is being tested at the Housing Fair Finland site in Suvilahti in Vaasa, for example, where a low-energy network that uses sedimentary heat from the seabed generates heat and cooling energy for 42 single-family houses (B42).

Roadmap

Offshore wind construction is taken into account flexibly in regional planning

– Preparations are made in regional planning for large-scale offshore wind construction in the 2020s
– The needs of offshore wind areas are identified, and other preconditions for offshore wind construction are also developed (incl. harbours, maintenance, logistics points)
– Over the longer term, the use of alternative forms of offshore energy production is studied (incl. wave power and solar power), and preparations are made to use these forms of energy production
 

Development of the main network will support offshore wind construction

 

– In the development of the national grid, preparations are made for the connection of offshore wind energy production to the grid
– Discussion is carried out on the development and expansion of the national grid
– Will the national grid be owned by companies or the government? How will the expansion costs be covered?
– Effective operating models for the development of the national grid are sought from other countries

Offshore wind farms are placed in areas that are best suited for such operations

– The areas best suited for offshore wind will be determined in regional land use plans (incl. windiness, infrastructure and favourable ice and wave conditions)
– The impact of construction on the status of the marine environment and the ecosystem is always taken into account in planning.
– The underwater impacts of offshore wind and construction noise on the ecosystem are studied

Cooperation and dialogue between various operators will increase

  •     – There is increasing dialogue between the government and various regions, municipalities and wind energy operators
  •     – Close dialogue with the Defence Forces is maintained to coordinate interests
  •     – Design practices are explained to clarify the process related to offshore wind construction
  •     – International cooperation is increased in large-scale offshore wind projects
  •     – Over the longer term, preparations will be made to expand international cooperation to also include joint offshore wind farms
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Political decision-makers have identified the significant role of offshore wind in terms of Finland’s carbon-neutrality goals

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  • – Ambitious offshore wind goals and national offshore wind policy guidelines will be created
  • – The role of the government as an active lessor of marine areas will be developed
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The investment environment for offshore wind has become more attractive

  •     – Efforts will be made to increase state support measures to start offshore wind construction in Finland (forward-looking investments and support during the transition phase)
  •     – The construction and planning of offshore wind farms in domestic water areas will be streamlined.
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Background information

Synergies and conflicts

View the Synergies and conflicts table for all industries.

Ecosystem services

The energy sector mainly uses the energy production service provided by the marine ecosystem, which is based on the abiotic elements of the marine ecosystem, such as the sun, wind, waves or tidal variation.  

Other energy sources

– Seawater is increasingly used as a source of heat and cooling energy, and the related technology is evolving. Seawater can be used, for example, as a heat source for heat pumps in power plants, as well as in seasonal storage facilities, from which the heat of the water stored during the summer can be used in the winter.

– Seawater will also continue to be used for cooling in power plants. More effective use of the heat energy of condensate water will be made, and its direction back to the sea will reduce.

– The potential related to wave power and marine biomass will be studied and tested.

Trends

– Offshore wind and its role as part of the energy system will increase. The national and international development of the national grid and transfer connections is a basic precondition.

– Offshore wind farms are mainly located in the open sea, where area reservations are larger and adverse environmental and landscape impacts are smaller. However, their placement requires coordination with the migratory routes of birds, for example.

– As technology develops, wind farms can be placed in deeper water, and ice conditions will be taken better into account. With the development of floating wind farms, wind electricity can be produced in deeper marine areas.

– Offshore wind production is concentrated in areas near active ports because the construction and maintenance of wind farms require regular visits. In addition to the wind farms, there are electricity transmission cables, transformer stations and other infrastructure items on sea and land.

– Increased knowledge of marine nature values and their location will make it possible to place wind farms in the least sensitive areas. Artificial seabed reefs built in connection with wind farms create living conditions for species, making use of fish fry production, for example.

– Offshore wind has synergies with the maritime industry and maritime logistics in particular (the construction of ships for the installation and erection of wind farms). Opportunities to combine wind energy areas with aquaculture are also being explored.

– The needs of the Defence Forces restrict the construction of wind farms, but operations can be coordinated through technological development, for example.