VTT Research Centre of Technology (VTT) has investigated the potential and economic advantages of new wind power technology. The technology would significantly increase the advantages of wind energy and enable the competitive use of wind power in Finland.
Large investments are being made in wind power, which emphasize the significance of this new and competitive technology. Wind power makes up for about 4% of electricity consumption worldwide, and for more than 10% in Europe.
VTT has studied wind power potential in Finland and compared several generations of the related technology. Ground-based wind turbines are mostly erected in open locations, where there is adequate wind. The problem is that low winds do not produce sufficient power. However, new technology currently enables larger rotors, i.e. longer blades and higher towers than the earlier wind turbine generation. The VTT research has shown that new-generation wind turbines are also quite efficient in low winds. This will allow turbines to be positioned more freely in the future, for instance in forested areas.
The new technology will enable a growth in competitive wind power. Even though the investment costs of the new power plants are higher than in earlier years, there is a fivefold advantageous increase in the potential offered, compared to the older technology. Based on the same cost hypothesis, the new technology could encompass the entire of Finland's electricity consumption (86 TWh), whereas the old technology's ability was restricted to about 16 TWh. Furthermore, land use restrictions have no huge impact on the estimation of the new technology's potential, as it would enable economically feasible production in additional locations than before.
Sufficient wind power is available in Finland. Technology and land use restrictions affect the available wind power potential, i.e. annual energy production. The key issue is to decide on the extent to which this potential is realized. In practice, wind power is intended to cover part of electricity consumption. Large-scale use of wind power will require new kinds of solutions throughout the electric power system.
Erkka Rinne , Research Scientist, VTT
Wind power is one of the sources of renewable energy and incidentally, Finland's expertise in Arctic wind power gives it a unique competitive edge. VTT is developing advanced technology which takes into consideration environmental impacts and advantages from, for example, the tools and fine modifications enabled by the virtual modeling of wind turbines.
VTT's research is a part of the EL-TRAN Research Project (2015–2021) sponsored by the Strategic Research Council. The Strategic Research Council functions at the Academy of Finland.