Finnish Energy and Finnish Wind Power Association: Rapporteur’s report opens up the possibility of building wind power also in Eastern Finland

The rapporteur invited by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, the Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of the Environment, the report of Lieutenant General (ret.) Arto Räty presents ways of coordinating wind power and the Defence Forces’ activities in Eastern Finland. The measures proposed by the expert must be implemented quickly. At the same time, further measures must be identified to ensure that the great investment potential of eastern Finland is not lost.

Wind farms affect the operation of radars. As it is, wind power is currently concentrated in the western part of Finland, where it has been easier to obtain a favourable opinion from the Defence Forces. However, this regional concentration not only poses challenges for the electricity grid, but also increases the variability of production and inequalities between municipalities. 

The associations welcome the common will to address the radar challenge. It is not just about wind power investment: the low-cost, clean electricity generated by wind power is also attracting billions in investment in other industries, such as hydrogen. 

“Matching radar and wind power is essential as Finland competes with neighbouring countries for investments of significant size,” says Jukka Leskelä, CEO of the Finnish Energy. “In wind projects, the availability and affordability of clean electricity is Finland’s key success factor, and we need to strengthen our own electricity system also to keep prices affordable in the coming years.” 

In his report, Mr Räty presents ways to promote the coordination of Defence Forces activities and wind power in eastern Finland. Among these, the establishment of a joint working group of wind energy operators, the Defence Forces and the government, as well as the definition of a compensation law and procedures, should be implemented as a matter of priority in the next government term.  This group would deepen the interaction between the different actors and act as a platform for the search for compensation solutions. A compensation law would allow construction in new areas. In addition, Mr Räty’s report highlights ways to promote offshore wind energy on the coast.  

“Mr Räty has done a meritious job of making concrete, feasible proposals. Räty’s work focused on Eastern Finland, but most importantly, many of the proposals could be applied throughout Finland, as there are challenges in coordinating wind power and defence activities in other areas as well,” said Anni Mikkonen, CEO of the Finnish Wind Energy Association.

“The proposals to promote offshore wind are also welcome. Offshore wind power is a fast-growing sector with huge potential, as Räty has also recognised. For example, reducing the property tax on offshore wind farms is a well-prepared and quickly implemented measure,” Mikkonen continues.

The Finnish Wind Energy and the Finnish Wind Power Association emphasize that the report that has now been completed must not remain just a report, but that the measures proposed by Räty must be implemented promptly and vigorously. The launch of the measures proposed in the study and the continuation of the work, which was one of Räty’s proposals, should also be included in the next government programme.

It is important to attract the investment that the green transition will bring to Eastern Finland, as wind farms will bring property taxes, rental income and new jobs to municipalities. Eastern Finland must be kept a vibrant and investment-attractive region in order to remain inhabited. This is important for the security of Finland as a whole. 

“The cities, universities and businesses near the eastern border challenge the incoming government and Members of Parliament to take a clear position on how to ensure the competitiveness of eastern Finland’s industry, access to clean energy and the realisation of billion-euro investments in the hydrogen economy. This is an issue that cannot be left to the Defence Forces alone to solve, but requires decisions at the strategic level of the Government”, say Kimmo Jarva, Mayor of Lappeenranta and Kari Karjalainen, Mayor of Joensuu, on behalf of the founding cities of the Suomen Vetylaakso ry.

More information: 

Anni Mikkonen, CEO Finnish Wind Power Association, +358 40 771 6114 

Jukka Leskelä, CEO Energy Finland, +358 50 593 7233 

Markku Heinonen, Development Director Suomen Vetylaakso ry, +358 40 581 1998  

Read the report (in Finnish)

(Machine translation)