Interview: Hyötytuuli’s Toni Sulameri on Finnish offshore wind

Topics
No items found.
Ilaria Valtimora
October 23, 2017
This content is from our archive. Some formatting or links may be broken.
This content is from our archive. Some formatting or links may be broken.
Interview: Hyötytuuli’s Toni Sulameri on Finnish offshore wind

Ice is good in a cocktail. It is not as good on a wind farm. This is why manufacturers have spent years developing machines that
can function well in icy conditions.

The technology is now making its way offshore. In August, Finnish business Suomen Hyötytuuli commissioned its 42MW Tahkoluoto nearshore wind farm, which it called the first ice-resistant offshore wind farm. The project is located in the Gulf of Bothnia, around 9km off the western coast of Finland towards Sweden, and is made up of ten 4.2MW turbines, supplied by Siemens Gamesa.

Tahkoluoto is not the biggest project nor the furthest offshore, but it is a useful study in how offshore wind farms are being built in harsh icy conditions. We spoke to Toni Sulameri, managing director at Suomen Hyötytuuli, about this project and the wider challenges for development of offshore wind farms in Arctic conditions.

Sulameri explains one of the biggest challenges here was coping with frozen seas: “The major risk to build a wind farm in this area was represented by the combination of high winds and drifting ice. This is one of the major reasons why building offshore wind farm in Finland is so difficult. As far as we know, this is the first offshore wind farm with specific foundations for frozen sea areas.”

The project differs from other offshore wind farms because it uses gravity-base steel foundations with conical tops to withstand heavy ice loads. The project must cope with ice ridges, which are formed by compressed drifting ice and high winds, and can measure up to 25 metres each. These foundations each weigh 500 tonnes and were custom-designed by Finnish offshore contractor Technip.

Sulameri says that successfully proving this technology could make these schemes more attractive for investors, and support
the growth of offshore wind in Finland. He adds that nearshore projects are competitive as installation costs are lower.

“We can build offshore wind schemes cheaper than in the North Sea,” he says. “Our difficult weather conditions call for projects to being built near shore, reducing costs and risks and making ideal conditions to attract investors’ interest.”

This has encouraged Hyötytuuli to pursue new schemes, but Sulameri says the sector needs more government support.

Tahkoluoto required total investment of around €120m of which €20m was from the government, which wanted to demonstrate
that offshore wind is feasible in such a technically complex area. It is unclear if Finland’s leaders want continue with this.

For instance, the government is considering plans for a support scheme for non-hydro renewables, and has proposed awarding support for up to 2TWh of green power in technology-neutral auctions by the end of 2019.

The Finnish Wind Power Association said that could translate into support for up to 800MW of onshore wind capacity, but it is unclear whether offshore wind would be eligible to bid.

Wind is currently a small part of Finland’s energy mix. The nation has about 1.5GW of onshore wind capacity, and wind supplies
only 1% of its energy consumption. By contrast, 70% of Finnish energy comes from oil, nuclear and wood fuels. Offshore wind should play a bigger role if included in the government’s plans.

Sulameri says the growth of the sector also depends on turbine manufacturers. The estimated levelised cost of energy at Tahkoluoto is around €60/MWh, and he says the LCOE will need to be halved if developers are to make profits in a market where power prices and government financial support are both falling. If this is to happen, future schemes in Finnish waters could need turbines of 8MW or more.

Firms like Suomen Hyötytuuli are looking to prove the potential for offshore wind in Finland and, by extension, the role of ice-resistant offshore projects. But they need the support from policymakers and turbine makers to turn this project into a market.

If they can do that, investment shouldn’t be a problem. We still see plenty of money chasing wind projects both onshore and offshore, as long as returns match the risks. We’ll raise a glass to that.

Ice is good in a cocktail. It is not as good on a wind farm. This is why manufacturers have spent years developing machines that
can function well in icy conditions.

The technology is now making its way offshore. In August, Finnish business Suomen Hyötytuuli commissioned its 42MW Tahkoluoto nearshore wind farm, which it called the first ice-resistant offshore wind farm. The project is located in the Gulf of Bothnia, around 9km off the western coast of Finland towards Sweden, and is made up of ten 4.2MW turbines, supplied by Siemens Gamesa.

Tahkoluoto is not the biggest project nor the furthest offshore, but it is a useful study in how offshore wind farms are being built in harsh icy conditions. We spoke to Toni Sulameri, managing director at Suomen Hyötytuuli, about this project and the wider challenges for development of offshore wind farms in Arctic conditions.

Sulameri explains one of the biggest challenges here was coping with frozen seas: “The major risk to build a wind farm in this area was represented by the combination of high winds and drifting ice. This is one of the major reasons why building offshore wind farm in Finland is so difficult. As far as we know, this is the first offshore wind farm with specific foundations for frozen sea areas.”

The project differs from other offshore wind farms because it uses gravity-base steel foundations with conical tops to withstand heavy ice loads. The project must cope with ice ridges, which are formed by compressed drifting ice and high winds, and can measure up to 25 metres each. These foundations each weigh 500 tonnes and were custom-designed by Finnish offshore contractor Technip.

Sulameri says that successfully proving this technology could make these schemes more attractive for investors, and support
the growth of offshore wind in Finland. He adds that nearshore projects are competitive as installation costs are lower.

“We can build offshore wind schemes cheaper than in the North Sea,” he says. “Our difficult weather conditions call for projects to being built near shore, reducing costs and risks and making ideal conditions to attract investors’ interest.”

This has encouraged Hyötytuuli to pursue new schemes, but Sulameri says the sector needs more government support.

Tahkoluoto required total investment of around €120m of which €20m was from the government, which wanted to demonstrate
that offshore wind is feasible in such a technically complex area. It is unclear if Finland’s leaders want continue with this.

For instance, the government is considering plans for a support scheme for non-hydro renewables, and has proposed awarding support for up to 2TWh of green power in technology-neutral auctions by the end of 2019.

The Finnish Wind Power Association said that could translate into support for up to 800MW of onshore wind capacity, but it is unclear whether offshore wind would be eligible to bid.

Wind is currently a small part of Finland’s energy mix. The nation has about 1.5GW of onshore wind capacity, and wind supplies
only 1% of its energy consumption. By contrast, 70% of Finnish energy comes from oil, nuclear and wood fuels. Offshore wind should play a bigger role if included in the government’s plans.

Sulameri says the growth of the sector also depends on turbine manufacturers. The estimated levelised cost of energy at Tahkoluoto is around €60/MWh, and he says the LCOE will need to be halved if developers are to make profits in a market where power prices and government financial support are both falling. If this is to happen, future schemes in Finnish waters could need turbines of 8MW or more.

Firms like Suomen Hyötytuuli are looking to prove the potential for offshore wind in Finland and, by extension, the role of ice-resistant offshore projects. But they need the support from policymakers and turbine makers to turn this project into a market.

If they can do that, investment shouldn’t be a problem. We still see plenty of money chasing wind projects both onshore and offshore, as long as returns match the risks. We’ll raise a glass to that.

Ice is good in a cocktail. It is not as good on a wind farm. This is why manufacturers have spent years developing machines that
can function well in icy conditions.

The technology is now making its way offshore. In August, Finnish business Suomen Hyötytuuli commissioned its 42MW Tahkoluoto nearshore wind farm, which it called the first ice-resistant offshore wind farm. The project is located in the Gulf of Bothnia, around 9km off the western coast of Finland towards Sweden, and is made up of ten 4.2MW turbines, supplied by Siemens Gamesa.

Tahkoluoto is not the biggest project nor the furthest offshore, but it is a useful study in how offshore wind farms are being built in harsh icy conditions. We spoke to Toni Sulameri, managing director at Suomen Hyötytuuli, about this project and the wider challenges for development of offshore wind farms in Arctic conditions.

Sulameri explains one of the biggest challenges here was coping with frozen seas: “The major risk to build a wind farm in this area was represented by the combination of high winds and drifting ice. This is one of the major reasons why building offshore wind farm in Finland is so difficult. As far as we know, this is the first offshore wind farm with specific foundations for frozen sea areas.”

The project differs from other offshore wind farms because it uses gravity-base steel foundations with conical tops to withstand heavy ice loads. The project must cope with ice ridges, which are formed by compressed drifting ice and high winds, and can measure up to 25 metres each. These foundations each weigh 500 tonnes and were custom-designed by Finnish offshore contractor Technip.

Sulameri says that successfully proving this technology could make these schemes more attractive for investors, and support
the growth of offshore wind in Finland. He adds that nearshore projects are competitive as installation costs are lower.

“We can build offshore wind schemes cheaper than in the North Sea,” he says. “Our difficult weather conditions call for projects to being built near shore, reducing costs and risks and making ideal conditions to attract investors’ interest.”

This has encouraged Hyötytuuli to pursue new schemes, but Sulameri says the sector needs more government support.

Tahkoluoto required total investment of around €120m of which €20m was from the government, which wanted to demonstrate
that offshore wind is feasible in such a technically complex area. It is unclear if Finland’s leaders want continue with this.

For instance, the government is considering plans for a support scheme for non-hydro renewables, and has proposed awarding support for up to 2TWh of green power in technology-neutral auctions by the end of 2019.

The Finnish Wind Power Association said that could translate into support for up to 800MW of onshore wind capacity, but it is unclear whether offshore wind would be eligible to bid.

Wind is currently a small part of Finland’s energy mix. The nation has about 1.5GW of onshore wind capacity, and wind supplies
only 1% of its energy consumption. By contrast, 70% of Finnish energy comes from oil, nuclear and wood fuels. Offshore wind should play a bigger role if included in the government’s plans.

Sulameri says the growth of the sector also depends on turbine manufacturers. The estimated levelised cost of energy at Tahkoluoto is around €60/MWh, and he says the LCOE will need to be halved if developers are to make profits in a market where power prices and government financial support are both falling. If this is to happen, future schemes in Finnish waters could need turbines of 8MW or more.

Firms like Suomen Hyötytuuli are looking to prove the potential for offshore wind in Finland and, by extension, the role of ice-resistant offshore projects. But they need the support from policymakers and turbine makers to turn this project into a market.

If they can do that, investment shouldn’t be a problem. We still see plenty of money chasing wind projects both onshore and offshore, as long as returns match the risks. We’ll raise a glass to that.

Ice is good in a cocktail. It is not as good on a wind farm. This is why manufacturers have spent years developing machines that
can function well in icy conditions.

The technology is now making its way offshore. In August, Finnish business Suomen Hyötytuuli commissioned its 42MW Tahkoluoto nearshore wind farm, which it called the first ice-resistant offshore wind farm. The project is located in the Gulf of Bothnia, around 9km off the western coast of Finland towards Sweden, and is made up of ten 4.2MW turbines, supplied by Siemens Gamesa.

Tahkoluoto is not the biggest project nor the furthest offshore, but it is a useful study in how offshore wind farms are being built in harsh icy conditions. We spoke to Toni Sulameri, managing director at Suomen Hyötytuuli, about this project and the wider challenges for development of offshore wind farms in Arctic conditions.

Sulameri explains one of the biggest challenges here was coping with frozen seas: “The major risk to build a wind farm in this area was represented by the combination of high winds and drifting ice. This is one of the major reasons why building offshore wind farm in Finland is so difficult. As far as we know, this is the first offshore wind farm with specific foundations for frozen sea areas.”

The project differs from other offshore wind farms because it uses gravity-base steel foundations with conical tops to withstand heavy ice loads. The project must cope with ice ridges, which are formed by compressed drifting ice and high winds, and can measure up to 25 metres each. These foundations each weigh 500 tonnes and were custom-designed by Finnish offshore contractor Technip.

Sulameri says that successfully proving this technology could make these schemes more attractive for investors, and support
the growth of offshore wind in Finland. He adds that nearshore projects are competitive as installation costs are lower.

“We can build offshore wind schemes cheaper than in the North Sea,” he says. “Our difficult weather conditions call for projects to being built near shore, reducing costs and risks and making ideal conditions to attract investors’ interest.”

This has encouraged Hyötytuuli to pursue new schemes, but Sulameri says the sector needs more government support.

Tahkoluoto required total investment of around €120m of which €20m was from the government, which wanted to demonstrate
that offshore wind is feasible in such a technically complex area. It is unclear if Finland’s leaders want continue with this.

For instance, the government is considering plans for a support scheme for non-hydro renewables, and has proposed awarding support for up to 2TWh of green power in technology-neutral auctions by the end of 2019.

The Finnish Wind Power Association said that could translate into support for up to 800MW of onshore wind capacity, but it is unclear whether offshore wind would be eligible to bid.

Wind is currently a small part of Finland’s energy mix. The nation has about 1.5GW of onshore wind capacity, and wind supplies
only 1% of its energy consumption. By contrast, 70% of Finnish energy comes from oil, nuclear and wood fuels. Offshore wind should play a bigger role if included in the government’s plans.

Sulameri says the growth of the sector also depends on turbine manufacturers. The estimated levelised cost of energy at Tahkoluoto is around €60/MWh, and he says the LCOE will need to be halved if developers are to make profits in a market where power prices and government financial support are both falling. If this is to happen, future schemes in Finnish waters could need turbines of 8MW or more.

Firms like Suomen Hyötytuuli are looking to prove the potential for offshore wind in Finland and, by extension, the role of ice-resistant offshore projects. But they need the support from policymakers and turbine makers to turn this project into a market.

If they can do that, investment shouldn’t be a problem. We still see plenty of money chasing wind projects both onshore and offshore, as long as returns match the risks. We’ll raise a glass to that.

Ice is good in a cocktail. It is not as good on a wind farm. This is why manufacturers have spent years developing machines that
can function well in icy conditions.

The technology is now making its way offshore. In August, Finnish business Suomen Hyötytuuli commissioned its 42MW Tahkoluoto nearshore wind farm, which it called the first ice-resistant offshore wind farm. The project is located in the Gulf of Bothnia, around 9km off the western coast of Finland towards Sweden, and is made up of ten 4.2MW turbines, supplied by Siemens Gamesa.

Tahkoluoto is not the biggest project nor the furthest offshore, but it is a useful study in how offshore wind farms are being built in harsh icy conditions. We spoke to Toni Sulameri, managing director at Suomen Hyötytuuli, about this project and the wider challenges for development of offshore wind farms in Arctic conditions.

Sulameri explains one of the biggest challenges here was coping with frozen seas: “The major risk to build a wind farm in this area was represented by the combination of high winds and drifting ice. This is one of the major reasons why building offshore wind farm in Finland is so difficult. As far as we know, this is the first offshore wind farm with specific foundations for frozen sea areas.”

The project differs from other offshore wind farms because it uses gravity-base steel foundations with conical tops to withstand heavy ice loads. The project must cope with ice ridges, which are formed by compressed drifting ice and high winds, and can measure up to 25 metres each. These foundations each weigh 500 tonnes and were custom-designed by Finnish offshore contractor Technip.

Sulameri says that successfully proving this technology could make these schemes more attractive for investors, and support
the growth of offshore wind in Finland. He adds that nearshore projects are competitive as installation costs are lower.

“We can build offshore wind schemes cheaper than in the North Sea,” he says. “Our difficult weather conditions call for projects to being built near shore, reducing costs and risks and making ideal conditions to attract investors’ interest.”

This has encouraged Hyötytuuli to pursue new schemes, but Sulameri says the sector needs more government support.

Tahkoluoto required total investment of around €120m of which €20m was from the government, which wanted to demonstrate
that offshore wind is feasible in such a technically complex area. It is unclear if Finland’s leaders want continue with this.

For instance, the government is considering plans for a support scheme for non-hydro renewables, and has proposed awarding support for up to 2TWh of green power in technology-neutral auctions by the end of 2019.

The Finnish Wind Power Association said that could translate into support for up to 800MW of onshore wind capacity, but it is unclear whether offshore wind would be eligible to bid.

Wind is currently a small part of Finland’s energy mix. The nation has about 1.5GW of onshore wind capacity, and wind supplies
only 1% of its energy consumption. By contrast, 70% of Finnish energy comes from oil, nuclear and wood fuels. Offshore wind should play a bigger role if included in the government’s plans.

Sulameri says the growth of the sector also depends on turbine manufacturers. The estimated levelised cost of energy at Tahkoluoto is around €60/MWh, and he says the LCOE will need to be halved if developers are to make profits in a market where power prices and government financial support are both falling. If this is to happen, future schemes in Finnish waters could need turbines of 8MW or more.

Firms like Suomen Hyötytuuli are looking to prove the potential for offshore wind in Finland and, by extension, the role of ice-resistant offshore projects. But they need the support from policymakers and turbine makers to turn this project into a market.

If they can do that, investment shouldn’t be a problem. We still see plenty of money chasing wind projects both onshore and offshore, as long as returns match the risks. We’ll raise a glass to that.

Full archive access is available to members only

Not a member yet?

Become a member of the 6,500-strong A Word About Wind community today, and gain access to our premium content, exclusive lead generation and investment opportunities.

Full archive access is available to members only

Not a member yet?

Become a member of the 6,500-strong A Word About Wind community today, and gain access to our premium content, exclusive lead generation and investment opportunities.