The Ministry of the Environment is distributing a total of EUR 1.3 million to municipalities for studies on green transition projects, i.e. solar, wind, hydrogen or biogas projects. Jakobstad receives the largest grant of almost €190,000.
– It concerns offshore wind power off Pietarsaari. We will receive the money for various types of studies, what we should consider in the city’s planning, says Director of Urban Development Mika Hakosalo.
This includes, for example, where electricity cables or hydrogen pipes will come ashore from the turbines and how they will be connected to the existing electricity grid and transported.
– We plan for different options and then choose the one that is best for the city. The earlier we know, the better we can plan.
Three different operators, OX2, Ilmatar and Skyborn renewals offshore Finland, want to build offshore wind power about 30 kilometres off the coast of Pietarsaari. The total area involved extends from Kokkola to Vörå. The number of turbines is around 120-150 and the height varies between 270 and 390 metres.
– We are in contact with everyone and discussing, says Mr Hakosalo.
Impact on ports and industry
Hakosalo guesses that Pietarsaari received the largest contribution because the city also needs to review the planning of the current harbour and industrial areas.
– Once the wind farm is built, it must be maintained. How much space is needed for ships and whether spare parts need to be stored. There are many practical questions about how much space we should reserve in the harbour and for what purposes.
Mr Hakosalo also expects that some of the electricity produced by offshore wind can be used by local industrial companies.
– To do so, we need to know what is needed to replace fossil fuels and chemicals, whether they can be produced and stored locally and how much land is needed to do so.
In that case, safety distances to residential areas may be needed, among other things. According to Hakosalo, planning is important, not least because we currently have so little experience of such large offshore wind farms this far north.
– It will not be ready until 2028-2030 at the earliest. It seems like a long time until then, but things are moving fast.
Does not take a position on offshore wind power itself
Even if the wind farm does not materialise, Hakosalo does not believe that the planning is in vain.
– We have a green transition in general. So the port and industry’s transition to green fuels is relevant independently.
Offshore wind power will come, if not outside Jakobstad then somewhere else, Hakosalo believes. At the same time, he says that the actors behind the plans are serious and the companies have already pumped large sums into planning.
– You don’t spend tens of millions of euros on something you don’t believe in. It may not be 2029, but if it is 2032, we don’t want to be left without a plan.
– It’s not an unnecessary job, it’s very important not to get it wrong. It’s better to plan now so you don’t have to rush later.
Ultimately, the state decides
The wind farm itself will be so far out to sea that the state will ultimately decide whether it goes ahead.
– We have very little say in the matter. But of course we have to investigate the consequences for the city. We can’t close our eyes and hope it goes away and then panic at the end.
Nykarleby is also receiving support from the Ministry of the Environment, almost 37,000 euros, for the planning of Frillmossen, which will include a solar energy park.
A total of 17 municipalities and seven regional councils will receive support for studies and planning in projects promoting the green transition. The Ministry of the Environment received 44 applications.