Fortum’s revised strategy that was presented at the beginning of February set solar and wind power as one of the strategic cornerstones. Fortum targets a gigawatt-scale solar and wind portfolio. These technologies are rapidly maturing. At the same time, utility competences are becoming increasingly important, as subsidy schemes are gradually being phased out and renewable energy production is becoming more market-based.
We already have several active projects in wind power. The Blaiken wind farm, situated in northern Sweden and in which Fortum has taken an active role in the first and now the fourth and final phase, will, with all 99 of its turbines in place, be one of Europe’s largest wind farms (247.5 MW). In Solberg, also in the northern part of Sweden, a 22-turbine wind farm with an installed effect of 75 MW is under construction. Both wind farms are joint ventures with Skellefteå Kraft. Fortum’s share in Blaiken is 15% and in Solberg 50%.
The first wind farm in Russia is under construction by Fortum. The 35-MW capacity facility is expected to start production in 2017 and will serve Ulyanovsk, a city of 620,000, located 680 km south-east of Moscow.
In late September Fortum signed a letter of intent with Arise regarding the further development and possible acquisition of the more than 200-MW Kölvallen wind farm project in Sweden. The acquisition is still subject to among other a successful final development, including all permits gaining legal force, due diligence and an investment decision by Fortum.
Fortum is convinced that wind power will be one of the most competitive energy production forms in some geographies, in particular in our home markets. Investing in wind farms with excellent wind conditions and in regions where we have a presence to develop synergies is a way to have competitive wind production. To create additional value, we can balance the wind production with our hydropower assets. The ability to use hydro facilities as a regulator for the intermittent wind production is important for the power system today. And when looking ahead to the future energy system with its increased share of renewable sources, co-optimising wind and hydropower will be a necessity.
The first phase of Blaiken was built back in 2011; since then, we have gained experience in constructing wind farms and also in operating wind turbines. We can now build on that to develop further our wind activities.
In Solberg the installations themselves will be rather impressive with towers reaching close to 120 meters in the sky. With the blades mounted, the total height will be upwards of 180 meters. Compare that to the tallest building in Scandinavia, Malmö’s Turning Torso, which is 190 meters. The first foundations for the towers at the Solberg wind farm were casted in September; considering the size of the turbines, it’s no wonder that these too are massive. The scale of a wind farm can be hard to assess, especially if it’s situated on a bare mountain; but, even so, Blaiken with its soon to be 99 turbines is impressive.
The current focus for our future wind investments is the Nord Pool area and Russia. In the Nordic market-based environment, we have our hydro assets and our expertise in forecasting, production planning and trading, something that is important in order to optimise the sale of the energy on the Nord Pool market and to support hedging possibilities. In Russia, we aim to make possible investments in the framework of the capacity supply agreements.
Philippe Stohr, responsible for wind power at Fortum