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Paving the way: subsidy-free wind farms are now being developed in Finland

Written by Sigrid Carstairs
13/11/18 - 16:37

As far as renewable energy and wind power go, Scandinavia is currently Europe's 'hotpot' for investments. In October, I had the pleasure of visiting the trade show 'VIND 2018' in Stockholm for 2 days of networking and industry updates, and what a brilliant 2 days it was. The trade show was buzzing with activity, and this years trade show managed to attract no less than 850 visitors, and 50 exhibitors. Now, this is of course not comparable to the scale of things in other areas of the world (like Hamburg wind energy), but for a trade show in Sweden, this is quite a turnout. I for one actually prefer the scale of the VIND exhibition, it is so much easier to manage to network and listen in on talks when it is smaller.

The main thing I find so nice about the VIND trade show is of course to meet new and old industry contacts and network, but also to hear more about what is actually happening in the industry. What is the progress on the offshore wind development in Sweden? Who are the innovators?

This brings me to this years 'talk of the town': the development of the first subsidy free onshore wind farms in Finland, and the company that has been paving the way in this area, are Swedish OX2. The company has taken the investment decision to construct four wind farms in Finland. These four projects will together compromise the largest subsidy free wind farm construction in the Nordics with a combined capacity of 107.4 MW (ox2.com). These projects mark a milestone, not only for OX2, but also for the Nordic wind industry as a whole. Being able to build wind farms without any financial subsidies is a positive step forward in the strive for decreasing emissions from other energy sources.

The four wind farms in question will all have Nordex N149 (4.0-4.5 MW) turbines and the wind farms are planned to be up and running by 2020 (production being estimated at 360 GWh per year). IKEA Retail Finland, part of Ingka Group, is financing the construction.

Of course, OX2 are not the only developers who are now moving forward to the subsidy free sphere. Both CPC Finland and TuuliWatti are planning to construct subsidy free wind farms over the next few years, with TuuliWattis wind farm project being set to be the first finished project that has been fully completed in Finland without any financial subsidiaries. Viinamaen wind farm will consist of five V150-4.2MW turbines supplied by Danish manufacturer Vestas Wind Systems (renewablesnow.com).

Why is this such a big deal? Well, subsidy-free means deployment without government-mandated support, which is a tremendous development in itself. The fact that these wind farms can now be developed without any financial support from the government shows that renewables are increasingly cost competitive with grid power in an increasing number of locations.

Although the arrival of subsidy-free renewables infers zero-carbon electricity at reduced costs for consumers, it is not without challenges (carbonbrief.org). To overcome the increased cost of financing subsidy-free schemes is only one aspect of it; managing variable renewables on the grid is challenging in itself.

However, this new era of wind farm development is welcome, especially in Finland, who have had some challenges in recent years with the expansion of wind farms in the country. Therefore it is nice to see this change of direction, and it certainly looks like Finland is on the rise.

On the flip-side of this, companies are continuously finding it increasingly difficult to find and maintain competent staff in the wind sector across Scandinavia. As I have previously discussed, there is a general shortage of electrical skills in the industry, especially when it comes to A-level authorised installation technicians in Sweden (if you are one of these rare candidates and are keen on a role in the wind sector - contact me: I have a job for you).

The other shortage of skills that the wind sector in Scandinavia is experiencing is people with experience on the construction side of the developments. Project Managers for construction, Construction Managers, BoP - the list goes on. One of the restrictions on this is the local language skills. This is often a requirement by Scandinavian companies, as the people will be dealing with local landowners, and legislation in the local language, and therefore, they need to speak it. However, many companies have started to realise the benefit of bringing in people from another heavy industry background, which may help with the shortage of skills in the long run. Let's face it, we are looking at an industry that needs to bring in fresh blood to grow. This is not only on the construction side, but also on the development side, and skills in Project Development, environmental studies and wind analysis are continuously more sought after. Based on recent trends, Finland seems to be set to require all of these competencies as well.

With that said; If you happen to have any of these skills above, and speak either Swedish, Finnish or Norwegian (depending on role) I want to speak to you, because I have a new job for you! Many of my clients have an urgent need for these skills.

 

The following roles are of particular interest at the moment:

* 1 Managing Director for Onshore Wind Farm Development - Hallands län (SE)

* 1 Construction Project Manager, Onshore Wind - Stockholm or Helsinki (FI)

* 1 Construction Project Manager, Onshore Wind - Västerås (SE)

* 1 Construction Director, Onshore Wind - Malmö, Halmstad, Hässleholm (SE)

* 1 BoP Package Manager for Onshore Wind - Gothenburg (SE)

* 1 Project Engineer for HV Systems - Malmö (SE)

* 1 Project Developer for environmental permits, Offshore Wind - Stockholm (SE)

* 1 Project Developer for environmental permits, Onshore Wind - Gothenburg (SE)

* 1 Electrical Installation Manager for Onshore Wind (Qualified according to Swedish A-level standards) - Malmö (SE)

* 1 Electrical Works Manager, Onshore Wind - Malmö (SE)

* 2 Wind Turbine Technicians with Electrical bias - Bromölla (SE)

* 2 Wind Turbine Technicians with Electrical bias - Halmstad (SE)

* 2 Wind Turbine Technicians with Electrical bias - Eslöv (SE)

 

If you are keen on these roles or know anyone who would be, please get in touch with me on +46 40 668 80 66, and send your latest CV to sigrid.carstairs@cathcartenergy.com

Even if these roles aren't of interest, but you have the above skills, I'd be happy to speak to you, as new opportunities come along all the time that require the above-mentioned skills, and visit our website on www.cathcartenergy.com to keep updated on new jobs.

 

Sigrid Carstairs

Recruitment Consultant

Cathcart Associated Energy Ltd.