Tahkoluodon merituulivoimala, Suomen Hyötytuuli
Tahkoluoto offshore wind power plant, Suomen Hyötytuuli


The overall EU target for the amount of renewable energy in the energy mix is 32% by 2030. (RED II Directive)

In the first round of maritime spatial planning in Finland, energy mainly refers to offshore wind power.

The Paris Agreement on climate change

The Paris Agreement came into effect on 4 November 2016. The EU ratified the agreement on 5 October 2016, and Finland did so on 14 November 2016. The Paris Agreement does not obligate the signatories to comply with specific emission targets. Instead, the signatories undertake to prepare, communicate, maintain and achieve their national emission targets.

As part of the negotiations, the countries announced what climate action they were prepared to take from 2020 onwards. The participating countries must report their new or updated contributions to the Secretariat by 2020 and every five years thereafter.

EU climate policy

The European Union’s current action framework for climate goals is based on the EU’s 2020 goals, which were determined as part of its climate and energy package in 2008. The key elements and procedures of this 2020 package include the Emissions Trading System and binding country-specific emission reduction obligations for sectors not included in the trading system (the EU’s Effort Sharing Decision), as well as binding country-specific targets for the use of renewable energy. In 2014, the European Council agreed on the EU’s energy and climate targets for 2021–2030. The new targets are a continuation of the 2020 goals.

The EU Directive on the support of energy from renewable sources (RES Directive) from 2009 sets binding national goals for the use of renewable energy by 2020. The binding target for Finland is for renewable energy to represent 38% of the country’s gross final energy consumption by 2020. The new renewable energy directive (RED II) extends until 2030 and must be implemented in the Member States by 30 June 2021. The RED II Directive does not set country-specific targets. Instead, it requires that the proportion of renewable energy of final energy consumption must be 32% in the EU by 2030.

National climate targets and Finland’s climate policy

The climate policy planning system consists of a long-term climate policy plan based on the Climate Change Act, a medium-term climate policy plan and adaptation plan, and a separate energy and climate policy strategy. Under the Climate Change Act, Finland must reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80% by 2050, compared with 1990.

Since 2001, the key targets and measures of Finland’s climate policy have been determined as part of energy and climate strategies. These strategies have examined energy and climate policy comprehensively and have been based on the implementation of international and EU obligations that are binding on Finland. In addition to national strategies, sector-specific climate programmes and action plans have been developed by ministries. The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment began to prepare a new strategy in April 2020.


National land use goals

Section 3.5 (‘Energy supply capable of renewal’) of the National Land Use Goals states that an increase in wind power production requires wind power construction to be adjusted to the surrounding land use, in addition to taking the adverse impacts appropriately into account. The adverse impacts of wind power plants can be minimised, and their technical and economic feasibility can be improved by placing wind power plants in large units.

Preparations are made for the needs of renewable energy production and the related logistics solutions in line with the national land use goals. Wind power plants are primarily placed in units of several plants in a centralised manner. Routes and implementation opportunities are secured for the power lines and long-distance gas transmission pipelines that are important for national energy supply. Existing power line corridors are primarily used for power line routes.



According to a guide (Planning wind farm construction. Update 2016) produced by the Ministry of the Environment, wind power construction is mainly subject to the same regulations as other construction activities. The implementation of large wind power plants must generally be based on planning in line with the Land Use and Building Act, to determine the areas suitable for wind power construction. A building or action permit is always required for the construction of a wind power plant. The power lines needed for electricity transmission, as well as the routes needed for the transport of wind power plant components to each location, are integral parts of the planning process for wind power construction.

When planning the location of wind power plants, it is important to consider the characteristics of the environment, as well as other land use, such as housing, for example, and air transport and national defence operations.

The following areas are generally unsuitable for wind power construction:

• Nationally valuable landscape areas

• Nationally significant built cultural environments

• Conservation areas

• Wilderness areas established in accordance with the Wilderness Act

• Internationally important bird areas (IBA).

Based on sufficient studies and impact assessments, the suitability of the following and other areas for wind power construction can be considered on a case-by-case basis:

• Areas included in the Natura 2000 network

• Regionally valuable landscape areas

• Regionally significant built cultural environments

• Nationally valuable geological formations.

In these cases, special significance is given to the values or protection grounds related to the area, as well as the possible impacts of wind power construction on them. In connection with planning, other areas may also be deemed unsuitable for wind power construction.

Issues falling under special legislation cannot be resolved through planning. Depending on the location, the implementation of a wind power plant may require, for example, the following:

• An obstacle approval in accordance with the Aviation Act

• A water permit in accordance with the Water Act

• An environmental permit in accordance with the Environmental Protection Act 

• An environmental impact assessment procedure in line with the Act on Environmental Impact Assessment Procedure

• A Natura assessment in accordance with the Nature Conservation Act

• A permit for the exploration and survey of the sea floor in territorial waters in accordance with the Territorial Surveillance Act.

As a rule, wind power plants should be located so far away from residential areas of other potentially affected sites that an environmental permit is not needed.

According to section 9 of the Land use and Building Act, plans must be founded on sufficient assessments, studies and reports concerning their potential material impacts. Key impacts arising from the construction of wind power include landscape impacts, sounds and flicker; impacts on birds, bats, underwater natural environments and fish stocks; impacts on national defence operations, security, weather radars and radio communications; and combined effects.

The permits required for wind power plants vary depending on whether the plant will be located in territorial waters or in Finland’s exclusive economic zone. The most significant difference is related to planning and building permits, as only chapter 8a (‘Maritime Spatial Planning’) of the Land Use and Building Act applies to the exclusive economic zone. In accordance with the Act on the Exclusive Economic Zone, the State of Finland has the right to use the exclusive economic zone and its natural resources. According to the Act, permission from the Finnish Government is required for the economic use of the exclusive economic zone and construction in the zone if the construction may impede the exercise of Finland’s rights under international law in the exclusive economic zone. In addition, the construction of a wind power plant in the exclusive economic zone may require an environmental impact assessment, a Natura assessment, a water permit and an environmental permit.


Territorial Surveillance Act (755/2000)

EU climate and energy package 

Directive on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources (2009/28/EC)

Aviation Act (1194/2009) 

Climate Change Act (609/2015)

Act on Environmental Impact Assessment Procedure (468/1994)

Nature Conservation Act (1096/1996)

Land Use and Building Act (132/1999)

Paris Agreement on climate change (Finnish Treaty Series 75/2016)

Preparation of a new climate and energy strategy

National land use goals

Government report on the National Energy and Climate Strategy for 2030

Government report on the Medium-term Climate Change Plan for 2030

Water Act (587/2011)

Environmental Administration Guidelines: Planning wind farm construction. Update 2016

Environmental Protection Act (527/2014)