Why offshore wind power on Åland?
Today, the capacity of wind power on Åland amounts to 65 MW. The production from wind power corresponds to approximately 65% of the annual electricity consumption. Now, offshore wind power is being planned. Åland has excellent opportunities to establish offshore wind power that brings societal benefits.
The wind conditions in Åland's maritime areas are excellent and well-suited for offshore wind power.
The maritime areas suitable for offshore wind power production on the northern side of Åland are large and uniform, which increases cost-effectiveness and facilitates infrastructure planning.
Åland's geographical location between Finland and Sweden is advantageous, as both regions have growing demands for renewable energy.
Fully developed wind power areas are estimated to have a production that is 60 times larger than Åland's electricity consumption. This means that electricity production is primarily an export commodity. The transportation distances to neighboring regions are manageable, which increases the attractiveness of the area.
Åland has legislative authority in several areas.
Åland has legislative authority in areas such as environment, construction, planning, and energy. This provides the opportunity to meet Åland's interests through its own legislation. The project has strong parliamentary support and short decision-making processes, which facilitate communication efforts and work towards a common vision.
Wind power has been established for a long time on Åland, and the societal attitude is generally positive.
In 2022, the Åland Statistics and Research Agency (ÅSUB) conducted a survey on Åland residents' attitudes towards offshore wind power on Åland. The results showed that:
- 46% were in favor of the development plans.
- 17% believed that the scale should be larger.
- 22% had no opinion.
- 7% believed that the scale should be smaller.
- 9% were against the development.
A follow-up of the study is planned.
Strong political support
On June 29, 2023, several political parties signed a consensus agreement to provide long-term support for the work aimed at enabling the establishment of large-scale renewable energy production. The purpose of the agreement is to create cross-party collaboration and provide stability in efforts to ensure that Åland's interests are considered over a long period of time.
The consensus agreement emphasizes the following points:
- To underline the importance of agreements that safeguard Åland's societal interests and maximize the benefits that Åland can derive from leasing the rights to use maritime areas.
- To base the approach on considering all life cycle phases of energy production (preliminary study, planning, construction, operation, decommissioning).
- To commit to ensuring that the environmental impact of planned energy production establishments is minimized.
- To recognize the need for updated legislation to ensure that Åland's goals for offshore wind power can be achieved.
- To work for stable tax frameworks that benefit both Åland and entrepreneurs.
- To acknowledge the value of further processing of electric energy into other forms such as hydrogen and ammonia, which can maximize the utility of Åland's renewable energy resources.
- To support the Åland-owned company Kraftnät Åland Ab in actively exploring opportunities to participate in the distribution, transmission, conversion, and storage of offshore energy production to neighboring regions.
- To commit to communicating consistently, transparently, and factually about Åland's offshore wind power.
- To support expanded educational opportunities in renewable energy production on Åland.
- To emphasize the importance of the parliament allocating sufficient resources for the work aimed at securing Åland's societal interests in the energy transition.