Finland is investing in farms in the Gulf of Bothnia

By Marek Grzybowski

4 GW Finnish Offshore Wind Project Enters Next Stage of Development. Finland has launched the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) programme for Ilmatar’s largest offshore wind project, Bothnia, as the project proceeds to the consultation phase – informed

The Finnish government has granted site survey permits for Ilmatar Offshore’s two new project basins, Bothnia and Bothnia West. Offshore wind farms will be built in Finland’s exclusive economic zone. Ilmatar Offshore has two new areas suitable for the use of wind energy in the Finnish economic zone. The reservoirs in which the Bothnia and Bothnia West OWFs will be installed are located in the middle of the Gulf of Bothnia, approximately 100 kilometers from the west coast of Finland.
Finland moved quickly to locate offshore wind farms. In less than half a year, information appeared that Finland was preparing for tenders for two offshore wind farms in September and October this year. The Finnish government kept its word. Today we know that we can expect two more locations to be launched in 2024. The fifth location will be selected next year. It can be assumed that the proceedings will be carried out efficiently and without any slippages.

The Finnish government approved an offshore wind auction model for public water areas in 2021, under which Metsähallitus makes land available for use by wind energy companies. The wind farm sites remain state property and rental income forms part of the results reported by Metsähallitus to the state.
Metsähallitus is a state-owned enterprise that provides environmental services to a diverse client base, ranging from individuals to large companies, the company explains on its website, emphasizing that “We sustainably use, manage and protect the state’s land and water areas, and we also reconcile the different goals of owners, customers and other stakeholders. In this way, we ensure that everyone – including future generations – can enjoy nature and the value it creates.”
– The Gulf of Bothnia is a huge body of water that creates enormous potential for the development of energy-intensive industries in neighboring areas – said Anna Häger, regional manager at Ilmatar Offshore.

Gulf of Bothnia with wind potential
Bothnia and Bothnia West constitute the largest offshore wind development area in Finland, Ilmatar reports. The location concession covers an area of ​​almost 2,200 km2.
– Approximately, a wind farm with a capacity of over 6 GW can be placed on [designated water area – MG]. This means excellent opportunities to develop electrification in Finland and Sweden without fossil fuels, emphasizes Jori Sihvonen, project manager for the Ilmatar subsea development in the Finnish EEZ (exclusive economic zone).
The obtained research license means that you can start researching the seabed, taking detailed measurements and assessing the current condition of the project area. Ilmatar has already started work on an environmental impact assessment in cooperation with Ramboll Finland. Research in designated water areas will begin in early 2024.
– If the project is implemented, electricity production could begin in the early 2030s. To implement this and other offshore wind projects in the EEZ, Ilmatar, a developer and independent power producer, now need government guidance on how to obtain exclusivity to actually develop these areas – says Jori Sihvonen.
The Gulf of Bothnia is approximately 1,395 km2 and the water depth ranges from 60 to 120 meters. Bothnia Zachodnia covers an area of ​​803 km2, and the water depth ranges from 35 to 120 meters.
Metsähallitus estimates that the MEW will generate over 6 GW of power from the five planned locations. The reservoirs are located west of the coast of Finland. They are located at sea in the municipalities of Siikajoki, Hailuoto, Pyhäjoki and Raahe, Närpiö and Kristiinankaupunki.