Finnish state-owned company Metsähallitus is currently working on the Korsnäs offshore wind farm project, which will be built in 2028 at the earliest. We asked Metsähallitus wind energy project leader Pertti Tapio about the progress. 

In the first phase of the Korsnäs offshore wind farm project, 70-100 turbines with a nominal capacity of 12-20 MW will be built. The Korsnäs project will therefore be the first large-scale offshore wind farm in Finland when it is completed around 2028. At this stage, the annual energy production from the offshore wind farm is estimated to be around 5,000 GWh. This would be sufficient, for example, to meet the year-round electricity needs of 250,000 single-family homes, including electric heating. Finland’s first offshore wind farm, Tahkoluoto in Pori, already generates about 155 GWh of electricity per year.

The size of the project area is 220 km2. It is located in a public body of water managed by Metsähallitus, about 15 kilometres from the coast. The location of the offshore wind farm at the beginning of the project has already been changed after studies, so that the project area is further away from the Kvarken Archipelago World Heritage Site, nature reserves, and fish spawning grounds.

The final demarcation will be made as planning progresses and will be influenced by, among other things, protected areas, the seabed, water depth, and discussions with various stakeholders. Shipping routes in the area and the needs of the Finnish Armed Forces have also been taken into account in the location of the planning area, the offshore farm project page reads. 

One of the prerequisites for the construction of offshore wind energy is suitably adapted ports. There are three large ports in the vicinity of the Korsnäs offshore wind farm project area: Kaskinen, Kristiina, and Vaasa. Metsähallitusb investigates the operational capacity and storage capacity of the ports.

What about an offshore wind farm project partner?

Metsähallitus is also looking for an implementation partner for the Metsähallitus offshore wind farm project.

“We, the Finnish state-owned enterprise Metsähallitus, have released preliminary market information and launched the partner selection process for the planned 1.3 Gigawatt (GW) Korsnäs offshore wind power project at the end of the year 2021. Both domestic and international investors have been invited into the selection process”, says Pertti Tapio, Project Leader for the Wind Power Business, in commentary for BalticWind.EU. 

“The project has attracted a lot of interest. The selection of a partner for the project will be realised through a competitive bidding process: After the indicative bid submission, a shortlist of potential parties will be invited to continue in the process and submit a binding offer, following which a preferred bidder will be selected. Metsähallitus’ goal is to complete the selection of a partner during 2022”, he adds. 

The challenges of wind farm development

We also ask about the challenges of offshore wind farm development. Tapio says that offshore wind power production is expected to grow rapidly in the future. According to some studies, it will grow rapidly in Europe. As technology advances, offshore wind farms will be larger and efficiently produce more fossil-free electricity. Currently, developing an offshore project still takes more time than the onshore projects but each project will increase the experience and take the process forward.

“It is also well-known that the offshore projects are more capital intensive and expensive than the onshore projects but at the same time they have a much bigger scale. Economies of scale and decreasing costs will make it more attractive. The development of our Korsnäs project has also shown that”, he says.

“The need for offshore energy is also increasing now that the industry is electrifying its processes. At the same time many power-to-X projects will be increasing the need for fossil free energy. These trends, for instance, create a very attractive future for offshore wind parks”.

“Offshore wind power, with power parks far away from the inhabitants, does not involve the same difficulties in finding a suitable location as onshore wind power. Metsähallitus has many onshore projects and we have lots of experience in them”, Pertti Tapio explained.