Finnish fuel billionaire invests in Arctic wind parks

By Thomas Nilsen, The Independent Barents Observer - March 20, 2017
Wind mills at Riksgrensen, Nordland county. (Thomas Nilsen / The Independent Barents Observer)
Wind mills at Riksgrensen, Nordland county. (Thomas Nilsen / The Independent Barents Observer)

St1 Nordic Oy, where billionaire Mika Anttonen has a 87 percent ownership, teams up with two wind power companies to develop the two wind park projects Davvi and Borealis in northernmost Norway.

The new joint venture is named Grenselandet AS (Borderland).

With a total production capacity 900MW, the two planned wind farms would generate 3.6 terawatt hours annually, St1 says in a press release.

Together, the two wind parks will be largest in Norway, second to Fosen wind park to be build outside Trondheim. Investments are estimated to around 8 billion Norwegian kroner (€878 million), Norwegian business online E24 reports.

Located in the municipalities of Lebesby and Tana, the wind parks could be connected to both the Norwegian and Finnish grids. A new 220V line from the parks to Finland’s border town of Utsjoki would strengthen the Norwegian-Finnish cross-border grids in the north.

“The project will strengthen the central grid eastwards, and thereby secure a supply of renewable energy for the region. This project, along with the proposed grid concept, will enable development of energy-intensive industries. The project will provide Finnmark with the opportunity to contribute to the national emissions target by exploring their good wind conditions,” says Harald Dirdal, Project Manager of Grenselandet.

St1 covers about a fifth of the Nordic petrol retail market with more than 1,500 gas stations. The company is additionally a serious player in development of renewable energy, both in technology and production.

The project is probably the first project in Norway that can be developed without governmental subsidies, and marks a step change for the renewable energy industry in Finnmark.

“This potentially marks a shift – we are now entering the times of subsidy free renewable energy development. Finnmark’s incredible wind resources mean that this is where the new times begin. We will be doing what we can to assist Grenselandet and other wind establishments in Finnmark county on their way to establishing the area as Europe’s foremost wind power area,” says Øyvind Isachsen, CEO of NORWEA, a Norwegian network organization for companies involved in wind power.

Production is planned to start sometime in the 2020s.