Wind power construction
Wind power is a renewable and nearly emission-free form of energy production. It can be produced relatively fast and at a relatively low cost, and and it increases Finland’s self-sufficiency in energy. Increasing wind power production has an important role in reaching Finland’s climate targets.
About 9 per cent of our annual electricity consumption is generated by wind power. At the end of 2021 there were almost 1,000 wind turbines in Finland, with a total capacity of more than 3,200 megawatts. Wind power construction is growing fast - during 2021 as many as 141 new turbines were built. At the same time the size of the turbines keeps growing, and the turbines that are now being planned are about 250 to 300 metres high.
In accordance with the National Climate and Energy Strategy (2016), in planning the use of lands and regions we must prepare for making wide use of Finland’s wind power potential. The new Climate and Energy Strategy will be completed in 2022.
The impacts of wind turbines on nature and the environments where people live largely depend on the placement of the turbines and the environmental values of the area concerned. The construction of wind power must be adjusted to the land use of the region and its harmful impacts must be duly taken into account. Wind power plants must be accepted by the local people and communities.
Advice to questions on wind power planning and construction
Advice on wind power is a national expert service to guide the construction of wind power that provides help and advice to municipalities, Regional Councils, Centres for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment, operators and private citizens in questions related to wind power. The advisory service is provided by the Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment for South Ostrobothnia, funded by the Ministry of the Environment
Planning and wind power construction
In principle, the same rules apply to the construction of wind power plants as to other construction. As a rule, the implementation of large wind farms should be based on the Land Use and Building Act, which means that sites suitable for wind turbines are specified in the land use plan.
At the moment, the planning of wind power sites is booming in Finland. Numerous master plans that directly guide wind power construction have been submitted for approval. The present and upcoming regional plans will enable the construction of a lot more wind power.
Wind power projects always require a building permit. Depending on the location, the implementation of a wind power project may also require e.g. an obstacle approval under the Aviation Act, a water permit under the Water Act or an environmental permit under the Environmental Protection Act, as matters falling within the scope of special legislation cannot be decided through zoning.
Guidelines to planning wind farm construction
The guidelines ‘Planning wind farm construction’ deal with the application of legislation concerning wind power construction and the impacts of wind power construction and how these should be assessed.
The guidelines are mainly intended for the construction of larger wind farms of an industrial scale, but certain parts of them can also be applied to wind power projects of a smaller scale.
They are primarily targeted to experts in municipalities, Regional Councils and Centres for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment who work on the zoning, impact assessment and permit procedures concerning wind power construction. The guidelines also provide useful information to those who construct wind farms.
- Guidelines for planning wind farm construction (2016) | Institutional Repository for the Government VALTO (in Finnish, abstract in English)
Study on monitoring wind power planning and construction
The study analyses the means to organise the monitoring related to the construction and planning of wind power in such a way that information on wind power would be available widely and cost-effectively. The work includes a survey of the different levels of zoning, building permits, environmental permits, environmental impact assessments and data on wind farms that have already been constructed.
- Developing the monitoring of wind power construction and planning; Proposal for organising the monitoring | Digital Repository of the University of Helsinki HELDA (in Finnish, abstract in English)
Noise from wind turbines
The Government Decree on Guide Values for the Outdoor Noise Level of Wind Turbines applies to the planning, permit procedures and supervision of the placement and construction of wind turbines. The guide values aim to ensure that the distances between wind turbines and residential areas are long enough and that noise does not cause health hazards to people or compromise the amenities of the living environment.
The guide value, i.e. maximum, for the average daytime noise level from wind turbines for permanent and holiday residence, care institutions and camping areas is 45 decibels and the night time noise level is 40 decibels. For educational institutions and recreation areas, the guide value for daytime noise is 45 decibels but no guide value has been set for the night time. For national parks, the guide value of 40 decibels applies during both day and night.
The provisions of the Health Protection Act on the indoor noise level of buildings must also be taken into account when deciding on the placement of wind turbines.
Guidelines for modelling and measurement of wind turbine noise
The Ministry of the Environment has issued three sets of guidelines that support the implementation of the Decree on Guide Values for the Outdoor Noise Level of Wind Turbines.
The guidelines for the modelling of wind turbine noise establish a safety distance between wind turbines and the site exposed to the noise (e.g. residential area). The modelling makes it possible to assess the noise zones and noise levels caused by wind turbines at different observation points.
- Modelling of wind turbine noise | Institutional Repository for the Government VALTO (in Finnish, abstract in English)
The guidelines for measuring the noise level of wind turbines can be used to determine whether the noise level exceeds the guide or limit value. The guidelines can also be used as such or together with other official guidelines on sound technology when the noise emitted by wind turbines causes harm in the environment or inside buildings.
- Using measurements to verify noise emissions from wind turbines | Institutional Repository for the Government VALTO (in Finnish, abstract in English)
The guidelines for measuring the noise emissions from wind turbines can be used to verify the guarantee value given by the manufacturer regarding the volume of the wind turbine noise. The measurement guidelines can also be applied to the measurement of initial values used in noise modelling.
- Measurement of wind turbine noise levels in exposed areas | Institutional Repository for the Government VALTO (in Finnish, abstract in English)
Landscape impact assessment in wind power construction
The publication ‘Landscape impact assessment in wind power construction’ examines the impacts wind power construction may have on landscapes and the way in which they are taken into account in land use planning and environmental impact assessment procedures. The publication aims to improve the quality of studies and impact assessments related to wind power planning and promote the maintenance of landscape values.
- Landscape impact assessment in wind power construction | Institutional Repository for the Government VALTO (in Finnish, abstract in English)
Avian impact assessment in wind power construction
The publication ‘Avian impact assessment in wind power building’ focuses on the impacts wind power construction may have on birds and how these are examined and taken into account in land use planning and environmental impact assessment. The publication aims to improve the quality of studies and impact assessments related to impacts of wind power construction on birds and improve the ways these are taken into account in planning.
- Avian impacts assessment in wind power building | Institutional Repository for the Government VALTO (in Finnish, abstract in English)
The materials that guide the ways how impacts of wind power construction on birds are taken into account include studies on the most important migration routes of birds in Finland. This material examines the migration routes of the most important species of large birds and factors that influence the location of the routes and variations in this. It is mainly intended for those working on zoning, planning and environmental impact assessment concerning wind power construction.
- Main bird migration routes in Finland (in Finnish)
- Main bird migration routes in Finland: map (in Finnish)
Grants to municipalities and Regional Council
Grants have been awarded to municipalities and Regional Councils for planning and permit procedures that guide wind power construction and for studies related to these. High-quality studies and land use planning that reconciles different needs and functions aim to find the sites that are the best suited for wind power. This will also prevent harm to nature and people that wind power plants may cause.
In the fourth supplementary budget for 2020 a total of about EUR 2 million in grants were allocated to promote wind power construction.
Through the three application rounds in 2020-2022, the Ministry of the Environment has funded 34 projects with a total of about EUR 1.6 million. The fourth application round is expected take place by the end of 2022.