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Friday's papers: A rush to wind power, nuclear backers not worried, and why is it so chilly?

The economic and business daily Kauppalehti reports that the decision by the new government to cut the feed-in tariffs paid to promote the use of wind power has led to a flood of applications to built new wind farms before subsidies fall.

Latamäen tuulivoimapuisto Luhangassa.
A power unit at the Latamäki wind farm. Image: Matti Myller / Yle

Investors fear that the cuts will means the loss of millions already in projects if permits are not filed in time to apply for and get current feed-in tariff subsidies, explains today’s Kauppalehti.

The paper quotes figures from the Finnish Energy Authority indicating that if all the permit applications that had been filed by Thursday afternoon are in proper form, the present wind power quota of 2,500 megawatts will have been surpassed by 200 megawatts.

Rabbe Sittnikow of the Hannes Snellman law firm told Kauppalehti that the new government policy has aroused a lot of negative attention both in Finland and abroad, bringing concerned calls from British, German and Dutch investors who have put their money in wind power projects in Finland.

Many are worried, he said, that pending projects they have invested in will not be completed in time to quality for state subsidies.

"Up until now, Finland has been recognized as a country with a culture of stable regulations. If policy on subsidies now starts fluctuating, it could have a much wider effect than just limiting investments in wind power," Sittnikow added.

Nuclear backers not worried

According to the Finland's other main business daily, Taloussanomat, the chairman of the board of Fennovoima - a company planning to build a new nuclear power plant in northern Finland is not overly concerned by criticism of the project issued yesterday by Minister of Economic Affairs Olli Rehn.

Rehn told the Green Party's main newspaper Vihreä Lanka that the there are issues concerning the nuclear plant project that are "problematic" for Finland. According to Rehn, it is important that majority ownership remains in Finnish hands.

Fennovoima COB Juhani Pitkäkoski responded by declining to comment, but adding, "It's great that government ministers have opinions".

According to Pitkäkoski the only matter of relevance is that Parliament has made a decision in principle approving the construction of the plant and that Fennovoima will file application for a construction permit by the end of June.

Pitkäkoski was unwilling to speculate on whether or not the process will be affected by the fact that the ministry which will review the application is now headed by Olli Rehn.

Job in Syria for Ranta

The Kuopio-based Savon Sanomat reported today that Helena Ranta has been asked to go to Syria, if and when peace returns to the country.

Ranta is a forensic dentist who has headed up investigations into atrocities and the search for physical evidence of war crimes in several post-crisis areas, including Kosovo.

Ranta told Savon Sanomat that she cannot refuse, if her health permits. She added that although already formally retired for four years, the next three years are heavily scheduled with activities.

This coming autumn Helena Ranta and former President Tarja Halonen will be travelling together to Kosovo as part of mission to continue ties between the two countries.

Over the past year, Ranta has been working in Kosovo training local experts in searching for and analyzing the remains of victims of the conflict there. There are still uninvestigated mass graves from the war in Kosovo 

Why so chilly?

Much of central Europe is enjoying real summer weather, with for example, France seeing temperatures of 30C and above. Meanwhile, southern and central Finland's temperatures have been firmly fixed at 15C to 20C at most.

Anja Häkkinen of the Finnish Meteorological Institute told Ilta-Sanomat that the heat in central Europe is the result of a warm air mass that right now is centered west of the British Isles.

The good news is that it is moving northwards; the bad news is that it is losing heat and cooling off along the way.

"It will be seen mainly as rain in northern Finland on Sunday. Southern and central regions will have showers on Saturday and Sunday," Häkkinen forecasts.

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