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Wind Power Investments Nearly Impossible in Finland, Fortum Says

Oct. 30 (Bloomberg) -- It is nearly impossible to carry out wind power investments in Finland because a patchwork of environmental regulation thwarts projects, the country’s biggest utility Fortum Oyj said.

“When you’ve invested a lot of money and time to prepare three or four wind farms, but not been able to build a single turbine due to environmental regulation, you stop pushing for new projects,” Peter Tuominen, public affairs manager for the company’s nuclear operations, said today at an interview in Helsinki.

Burdensome regulation may lead to Finland missing its wind-power target of 6 terawatt-hours by 2020 from 220 megawatts in June. The European Union requires member states to increase the proportion of renewable energy production in gross final energy consumption to an average 20 percent by 2020.

The country obtained 0.5 percent of its electricity use from wind last year, the least in Europe except for three countries with a zero share, according to the European Wind Energy Association.

Finland may fall short of its wind power target since the only viable projects are big offshore wind farms, which are ineligible for a feed-in tariff subsidy of as much as 105.30 euros ($136) a megawatt-hour, Tuominen said.

“Regulatory issues and environmental aspects make onshore wind power investments in Finland even more challenging than constructing nuclear plants, indeed almost impossible,” Tuominen said. “It’s a dilemma, since the areas with the best wind conditions are the most sensitive environment-wise.”

After failing to develop onshore wind, the company will not invest in offshore projects either, since it “lacks the competence and technical knowledge,” he said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Torsten Fagerholm in Helsinki at tfagerholm@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Lars Paulsson at lpaulsson@bloomberg.net

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