Other permits for wind turbines

Environmental and water permits

According to the Environment Protection Act (527/2014) a wind power turbine does not automatically require an environmental permit but, however, a discretionary need for a permit may become applicable. An environmental permit is required, should there be a risk that the planned or constructed wind turbine or wind farm cause an unreasonable burden to the residents in the area such as noise and/or flicker effects.

The guiding principle for wind power development is that wind farms should be situated far enough from residential areas, whereupon the environmental permit is unnecessary. However, some municipalities require the environmental permit on regular basis.

The environmental permit is, in practice, the only administrative tool available for the authority to restrict the operation of a wind farm and to obligate the operator to monitor and report environmental impacts of the operations. The permit may be granted for a wind farm or for a single turbine, depending on the circumstances. The main rule is that any operations with simultaneous impacts should be assessed as a whole.

A wind power project will require a so called water permit in accordance with the Water Act (587/2011), should the project have an impact on the water system. A water permit is always required for offshore wind power projects.

Aviation obstacle permit

In order to ensure the undisturbed aviation, permission is required for erecting turbines higher than 60 meters. This obligation is stipulated in the Aviation Act (864/2014). The project developer must apply the obstacle permit from the Finnish Transport Safety Agency (Traficom). Traficom will ask the statements from the relative stakeholders.

Defence force statement

The construction of a wind power project requires an approving statement from the Finnish Defence force. The statement is based on how the project will affect the operations of the Defence force and especially the surveillance sensors and radar systems. The Defence force determines how the project will affect their operations. Should the planned wind farm have adverse effects on the defence force’s surveillance systems, weapon platforms, training and operation of troops and equipment on the garrison, depot, training and firing range areas, the Defence force may give a negative statement of the project. If the statement is negative the project cannot be continued. The statement cannot, in practice, be challenged in the courts.

Read more about the wind farm consultation process

In Finland there is currently one case, in the Bay of Bothnia area, where the Defence Force’s surveillance systems have been rearranged in order to enable the construction of a number of wind farms. This area is regulated by the Act on wind power compensation areas (490/2013) which entered into force on 1 July 2013. The area of Bay of Bothnia is at the moment the only area considered as a compensation area by the Act. Projects situated on a compensation area are subject to a fee paid by turbine by the electricity producer. The fee compensates for the adverse effects on Defence force operations. No statement from the Defence force will be required for projects on compensation areas and construction will be possible even if the statement had been previously negative.

Dismantling permit (MRL)

When dismantling a wind power turbine, the possible need for a dismantling permit according to the Land Use and Construction Act (MRL), which is mandatory in zoned wind power areas, must be taken into account. According to Section 139 of the MRL, the distmantling permit application must clarify the organization of the dismantling work and the conditions for handling the generated construction waste appropriately and for the use of usable building parts.