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Eastern Finland's biggest wind farm launched in Pieksämäki

So far, few wind projects have been approved in Eastern Finland – partly due to concerns over interference with defence capabilities.

Most of Finland's wind turbines are dotted along the west coast. Image: Linnea de la Chapelle / Yle

Construction of Eastern Finland's largest wind farm is to begin immediately in Pieksämäki. The project is expected to meet the electricity needs of 80,000 households when it comes online in late 2024.

The facility will comprise 22 turbines with a maximum height of 258 metres. The Niinimäki wind farm will have a capacity of 145.2 megawatts, with an estimated annual output of more than 400 gigawatt hours.

According to its developer, the renewable energy firm OX2, the facility will cover the annual electricity consumption of some 80,000 households. Pieksämäki has a population of 17,000, while the broader South Savo region is home to some 154,000 people.

Few turbines in eastern Finland

The venture is being partly bankrolled by the city of Helsinki's energy utility Helen and an Ålandsbanken renewables fund.

Wind power capacity has been rising rapidly in Finland but so far few projects have been approved in Eastern Finland – partly due to concerns over possible interference with defence capabilities.

Most of the country's wind turbines are dotted along the west coast. Last summer the government approved the leasing of western maritime areas to significantly expand offshore wind power capacity.

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Largest investment in Pieksämäki's history

"The acquisition of Niinimäki supports our strategic investment in the production of renewable energy, and after the park begins operations, our annual wind power production will be approximately 2.5 terawatt hours," said Jenny Söderman, Helen's director of corporate acquisitions, in a statement on Monday.

Pieksämäki Mayor Ulla Nykänen called the project the largest single investment in the city's history.

"Investments in clean energy production in the region contribute to the country's energy self-sufficiency and also contribute to the city's climate goals," she said.

OX2, which is to build and manage the wind farm, is currently constructing 100 wind turbines across Finland.

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