Inherit the Wind – Wind Power Cluster is in the Works in South-East Finland
Wind Power is poised for unprecedented growth. By 2020, there is 15,000-20,000MW of new wind power capacity predicted for the Baltic Sea region alone. In North Europe, the figure could reach as high as 100,000MW during the next ten years.
Reshaping with Renewable
There’s a great transition taking place in South-East Finland as focus is shifting from forest industry to renewable energy technology. The regional developers have realized great potential in creating new jobs and prosperity through renewable energy. With nearly 4000 jobs lost in the traditional industries over the past five years, the regional developers in the Kymenlaakso region believe that wind power and bio energy can bring those jobs back and even more. The region has been successful in laying the foundation for the new growth. The regional development company of the Kotka-Hamina region, Cursor wants to create a wind power cluster in South East Finland. “We’re talking about a 100 billion euro market only in Finland” says Project Manager Jouni Eho. Cursor has put the ball rolling by announcing a goal to permit 100 wind power sites by the year 2015 in the Kotka-Hamina region. The regional council of Kymenlaakso recently finished a study with a total of 230 potential sites for wind turbines in the region.
Cursor had a jump start in the race as it managed to convince WinWinD, a Finnish wind power pioneer, to set up its production facility in the neighbourhood.
Cursor had a jump start in the race as it managed to convince WinWinD, a Finnish wind power pioneer, to set up its production facility in the neighbourhood. The Hamina operation manufactures 3MW power plants. WinWinD could have taken its pick from a range of locations, but chose Hamina due to well-rounded package that was tailored for its need. “From site offer to training, infrastructure and logistics, we put together a comprehensive, balanced package for WinWind,” Eho says.
There are already strong companies such as Andritz, Ahlstrom and the Switch in the area and new synergy opportunities emerging all the time, Eho believes. “Component manufacturing requires industrial expertise which already exists in the region.” In fact, there is a great transition taking place in South-East Finland as focus is shifting from forest industry to new areas such as wind power. In addition to the strong industrial foundation, Eho points out that the region also possesses superb logistical aspects. The ports of Kotka and Hamina joined forces May 1st 2011 to create the biggest port in Finland, the Port of Haminakotka. Russia is located just around the corner, and especially the vast St. Petersburg market provides intriguing possibilities. Cursor believes that a true cluster would require 3-6 major players to establish operations in the region, with 10-20 companies in more complementary roles as subcontractors.
Eho is hopeful that WinWinD is only the first of many wind power companies to launch operations in the neighbourhood. He has good grounds for optimism, too- Cursor already has a superstar calibre FDI under their belt, having lured Google into the area. Arguably the world’s hottest company entertained offers from around the world for their data centre, but finally chose Hamina. There has even been talk about using WinWinD turbines to power up the data centre, but no decisions have been made yet. However, the search engine giant has a history of using wind power in the USA.