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Tuesday's papers: Cheap wind power, cheaper travel and Midsummer mosquitos

Tuesday's press looks at the falling cost of wind power, a rail ticketing revolution, and an unwelcome Midsummer forecast for those who dislike mosquitos.

tuulivoimala ja kuutamo
Could wind turbines hold the key to cheaper energy? Image: AOP

Wärtsilä is a Finnish engineering company heavily involved in the production of various turbines and generators. On Tuesday Helsingin Sanomat reports on the firm's claim that wind power is around 27 percent cheaper than nuclear power--a calculation that calls into question the viability of Finland's nuclear projects at Pyhäjoki and Olkiluoto.

According to Wärtsilä, the cost of a megawatt hour of wind-produced electricity is around 30 euros, half the projected 60-euro per megawatt hour price of power from the Fennovoima plant at Pyhäjoki.

The Wärtsilä calculation includes the cost of backup power, although as HS points out, the firm also makes generators to produce such electricity. And as Wärtsilä admits, their calculation is for gas-generated backup power when in reality hydro plants and imports would fill most of the gap.

The figures don't include likely cost reductions in wind power, so the cost by 2030 could be even lower. Increasing renewable energy usage would also reduce carbon emissions from district heating systems, many of which currently use peat to provide homes with warmth.

VR revamps ticketing

HS also looks at the state railway firm VR's moves to shake up its ticketing services. The centrepiece of the reform is a new app, which replaces the much-criticised and slightly clunky digital ticketing currently used to sell tickets for Finnish trains.

The new app is in testing now among a select group of around 600 customers who travel a lot on the bust Helsinki-Turku and Helsinki-Tampere routes. On offer are new 'multi-tickets', offering even steeper discounts to those ready to purchase up to 35 tickets for the same route in one go.

VR's move comes in response to the government's project to make transport services smoother for the paying customer by integrating different services into the same ticket. The goal is to make it easier for companies to sell a complete package, including for instance a train journey, a taxi trip and use of a bus or tram, from one sales point. VR's sales system will be open to other providers, offering them the chance to sell train tickets too.

The railway firm tells HS it is working on offering more services, but reliability is the key: it's difficult to find any one taxi firm able to guarantee they'll have enough cars when a busy train arrives.

The new system should be available for customers to test from the end of the year.

Midsummer madness

Aamulehti has bad news for enemies of mosquitos, with the early summer warm spell meaning Finland's population of blood-sucking insects have woken from the winter hibernation earlier than usual. Most Finnish mosquito species winter as eggs, waiting for warmer weather to hatch, and so early summer warmth is not a good sign for those who try to avoid them.

There is wide variation in mosquito population, however. In some places the dry weather has reduced the amount of surface water available to them, whereas in others there is lots of water and the mosquito population is now plentiful.

AL reports that horseflies and black flies are also in ample supply ahead of Finland's biggest summer celebration.

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