“Can it be that high?” ponders Markku Kehus, municipal mayor of Ii on Finland’s northwest coast at the building site of a wind power plant as he looks up at the crane setting up the plant in the Olhava area. The first stage of the towering windmill already rests on a firm foundation.
The crane that is being used in the project is the tallest moveable crane in the Nordic Countries. It reaches a high of 156 metres, and has a warning light for passing aircraft, says Petri Ainonen, project director of the crane company Havator.
Finland’s highest wind turbine will be raised in Olhava, near the cost, on Tuesday. The hub of the windmill is at 140 metres, and the tips of the rotor blades will reach nearly 200 metres when they rotate.
There is one wind power generator in Germany that is even higher, with rotor blades reaching 210 metres.
The crane will not be dismantled after the wind generator is set up. It will be moved about one kilometre to a location where another massive wind turbine will be put up.
Elements of eight giant power plants to be put up by the wind power company Tuuliwatti are currently being moved by road from Kemi harbour to Olhava down Highway 4.
“The tower will be moved by lorry in the form of seven cylindrical segments. Ten special wide load transports will be required for a single wind turbine. The length of a single rotor blade is 55 metres”, says Sami Kivelä of the Ville Silvasti transport company.
Wide load transports of wind generator parts will begin on Highway 4 in the coming weeks from Kemi to Tervola, where Tuuliwatti will set up another ten giant wind generators.
Tuuliwatti is a wind power company owned by the energy company St1 and the S-Group. By the end of this year, Tuuliwatti will be the biggest producer of wind power in Finland.
The output of a giant generator is three megawatts. The electricity that it produces is the equivalent of the annual consumption of about 4,000 two-room apartments.
“Nearly all of the new wind power plants will be set up on the coast of the northern part of the Gulf of Bothnia, where wind conditions are good. Local authorities there have been smoothly granting building permits for the installation”, says Anni Mikkonen, chair of the Finnish Wind Power Association.
“The tower of the generator should be as high as possible, because the sea wind is not as turbulent at the high altitudes. In addition, the plant can be set up about a kilometre away from the shore, so it does not disturb people living on the sea”, says Jari Suominen, CEO of Tuuliwatti.
Suominen feels that the towers cannot get much higher than the ones that are being set up. The generators at Olhava cost about EUR 4.5 million apiece, and costs rise along with the height.
Ii is becoming a leading wind power community in Finland. In Myllykangas, north of Olhava, Winwind is setting up 19 wind turbine generators, and eight others are to be set up in Taalerintehdas.
There is also an older Vatunki wind park, comprising eight wind generators near Myllykangas.
“In addition, about 30 kilometres from the Olhava shore toward the sea there will be as many as 80 wind generators.
WPD Finland is expected to make a decision on the planned Suurheikka wind farm in the coming winter.