Seminar on Investment opportunities in the wind power sector in Finland organized by Spanish Wind Energy Association and Finpro / IIF, Madrid, Spain

Dear Mr. Jose Lopez-Tafall, President of the Spanish Wind Energy Association, ladies and gentlemen.

It is my special pleasure to open this seminar on “Investment opportunities in the wind power sector in Finland”. I am especially grateful to the Spanish Wind Energy Association that you have been able to attract such a large and high level group of representatives of Spanish wind energy business to participate in our joint seminar. I am also pleased to note the excellent cooperation you have had with Finpro and Invest in Finland in organising this event.

I have been informed that the wind energy value chain in Spain is one of the most competitive in the world. In addition Spain has taken the challenge of moving towards renewable energy sources by strongly investing in the wind energy production. These factors together make Spain most interesting partner for Finland in developing this sector. I would personally be satisfied to see more Spanish companies participating in different stages of wind power generation value chain in Finland. I do believe that this would be mutually beneficial for industries both in Spain and Finland.

We have come here today to build bridges between Spain and Finland especially in the wind energy field. We wish to learn more what Spain and the Spanish companies have to offer; and on the other hand, to present to you what kind of opportunities Finland has to offer for you.

As a part of our governments drive to increase foreign direct investments to Finland we are warmly welcoming Spanish wind energy companies’ investments to Finland. Equally as important is to promote business cooperation between Spanish and Finnish companies in this field in all forms of business transactions, let it be traditional trade, R&D cooperation or other forms of joint activities. I am sure that wind energy industries in Spain and Finland can find interesting and profitable forms of further cooperation.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

With your permission, I would now like to give you a short overview of operating environment in energy field in Finland.

Finland offers a multitude of attractive opportunities in renewable energy sector. Finland is one of the leaders in overall use of renewable energy in Europe: renewable consumption as a share of gross final energy consumption is at 33%, when the EU-average is 12.7%. Still, Finland is committed to further increasing the share of renewables, up to 38% by 2020.

To reach the target, the share of renewable consumption must be increased by 30 TWh within a decade, which entails increasing the usage of biomass for energy by 16 TWh, wind energy by 6 TWh and heat pumps by 2.6 TWh. For the time being, the usage of biogas and wind as energy sources remains low in Finland, but an intense increase in their share is expected over the next few years. This target means an installed wind power capacity approximately 2.500 MW, corresponding to more than 800 wind turbines.

Finland is untapped, but fast-growing new market for wind power. A large number of wind farms are planned for Finland, both off-shore and on-shore. At present, the pipeline on planned projects for Finland totals 8.900 MW, of which off-shore projects account for 34 per cent. The capacity installed so far totals only about 300 MW.

The figures for market potential in Finland are still far below what you have experienced in Spain during the last two decades. However, I would like to underline that by establishing in Finland you have better access to much larger Northern European market including Finland and its neighbours.

In Finland, electricity from renewable energy sources is promoted through a premium feed-in-tariff. New investments in wind stations will be eligible for the feed-in tariff, which is tied to the market price of electricity for 12 years. The tariff represents the difference between the target price of 83.50 EUR/MWh and the market price of electricity. Until the end of 2015, increased target price is even higher, 105.30 EUR/MWh. It is already evident that the tariff level has resulted in a very high number of new wind power projects.

I would also like to inform you that we have reserved a separate 20 million euro appropriation for an offshore wind power demonstration project. Finland does not have yet any specific target for offshore wind but the purpose is to grant energy support for only one project. This support naturally requires EU notification and commission confirmation.

In the future we foresee excellent opportunities for larger international renewable energy producers and investors as well as construction, operation and maintenance companies. Several international & domestic companies have already entered the market to develop wind farms and supply wind turbines.

Finland’s strategic objective of increasing renewable energy sources’ share of energy production to almost 40 per cent by 2020 means that the country will emerge as one of the most attractive investment targets in the field in Europe. This holds true also for the wind power investments.

One aspect that you might find interesting is the Finnish expertise in cold-climate arctic wind power technology. In Finland top quality expertise is in narrow sectors, such as transmissions, generators, power shaping circuits, radar technology and steel structures. We have developed solutions especially for cold climatic conditions for steel structures, turbine technologies as well as wind turbine power transmission and electrical engineering. By focusing on narrower market segment, smaller manufacturers can be competitive. This special knowledge of the arctic wind power technology can be quite interesting also for Spanish companies in the field.

To conclude by brief overview of energy field in Finland, I would like to emphasise that our government is committed to practising energy policy that is consistent and predictable in the long term and that in our decisions we are paying close attention to the needs of the industry. I do believe that once you get better acquainted with Finland’s operating environment, you will find it straight forward and clear.

I could elaborate much more about the Finnish business environment that has been repeatedly ranked at the tops of the international comparisons, but I will leave most of that for the coming speakers. I will mention just a few aspects.

International investors have expressed their appreciation of Finland reliable infrastructure, highly skilled workforce and business-friendly policies. We are ranked as one of the least corrupt countries in the world and our bureaucracy is very light in comparison e.g. with other EU countries.

Finland is known for its macroeconomic stability. Foreign-owned companies enjoy equal treatment with Finnish companies. Also, we have recently decided to lower our corporate tax rate to 20 per cent – well below EU average.

Ladies and gentlemen.

As I noted in the beginning, we have come here to build bridges between our two countries. In my short opening statement I wish to convey our sincere interest in developing cooperation between our industries on mutually beneficial basis. I have provided you with a few glimpses into Finland from the wind energy perspective and I understand that following presentations will give you more details and facts and figures. I warmly urge all of you to take an advantage of today’s seminar by making new contacts that you can build on in the coming years. Wishing you the best of success in your future wind energy business.

Thank you for your attention.