Wind energy and employment

Wind energy and employment

The employment effects of wind power in Finland consist of the design and construction of wind power projects and operation and maintenance of wind turbines, as well as the industrial manufacture of components and materials used in wind turbines.

The Finnish consultancy company Ramboll has made a study in 2019 about the employment effects of wind power in Finland. In the report, the basic assumption was that the annual wind power production will be 30 TWh by 2030. The results show the change compared to 2018.

The wind power capacity (about 2 000 MW) built in Finland by the end of 2018 will generate 55 800 man-years of work for Finns over its 20-year life cycle. The direct employment effect of wind power generation is 2 600 man-years, with a multiplier effect of more than 53 000 man-years.

55 800 MYFinnish wind power capacity (2,000 MW) at the end of 2018 will generate 55,800 man-years of work over its 20-year life cycle.

Of the life cycle phases of a wind power project, most jobs are created during the operation phase, which is the longest phase. Most of the direct employment effects of wind power projects are also generated during the operational phase. As a rule of thumb, ten power plants require two mechanics in the commuting area. Wind turbine manufacturers have established a comprehensive maintenance network across the country, from Sodankylä to Hyrynsalmi, from Ii to Luhanka and Hamina. Over 40 000 man-years are generated during the operation of Finnish wind farms, of which 2 200 are direct. The operational phase includes the operation, maintenance, and repair of the wind turbine, as well as insurance and management for 20 years.

One should notice that in the study a 20-year life cycle of turbine was used. The life cycle of a modern turbine built today is longer than that and therefore the employment effects of modern turbines are higher than the ones mentioned here.

The next largest number of jobs will be created during the construction phase of a wind power project. The construction of a wind power capacity (about 2 000 MW) built in Finland by the end of 2018 will employ a total of about 13 000 man-years. The employment impact of the design phase was 1 500 man-years, and the demolition phase will be about 1 300 man-years.

Local companies are typically employed especially when constructing new roads and foundations for the WTGs. Large number of for example accommodation and restaurant services are needed during the construction works.

Finnish industry has a long experience as a supplier of components for wind turbines and materials used in wind power turbines. Finnish industrial companies have long been subcontractors of the world’s leading wind turbine manufacturers. (Energy Industry 2014) Domestic wind power technology employed approximately 2 000 people in Finland in 2018.

Domestic know-how in the operation phase

There are many levels of service, and the rapid response team should always be close to the wind farm. These teams are hired by a wind turbine manufacturer or independent service company or purchased from a local service provider. Turbine-specific expertise comes from a wind power manufacturer. Remote monitoring of wind farms is often also centralized overseas, but this is only a small part of the whole operation phase.

There are many companies specializing in wind power maintenance in Finland, which are increasing their share of the maintenance market and have been able to hire more Finnish personnel. In addition, there are companies specializing in blade maintenance, adjustment, and repair in Finland, which have grown their operations both domestically and internationally.

The wind farm requires more maintenance than wind turbine maintenance. This includes, but is not limited to, maintenance of roads, and power grids. These are primarily the responsibility of the local staff because of the short response times required and the unpredictable need for work. In addition, there will be indirect jobs created by the project communities, especially during the busy construction phase. In many places, for example, hotels have been crowded throughout the construction period of a wind power project.