Short summary in English
Lumituuli Oy in brief:
- Was established in Finland in February 1998.
- Built the first off-shore wind turbine on an artificial island in March 1999. The production is shown on the Web.
- Is the first Finnish nation-wide customer owned windpower producer.
- Has more than one thousand shareholders: private citizens, companies, societies and Lumijoki community.
- Owners have an option to buy 500 kWh of wind electricity per share in a year.
- Is in co-operation with Ekosähkö Oy, which was the first Finnish electricity company to offer green electricity.
- Lumituuli won the Vision of the Year 1998 prize in Finland.
- Has received lots of media attention.
- Has support of the local residents.
- Is developing a new 30-50 turbine off-shore wind park in Northern Finland, near Oulu.
- Is looking into developing wind power also in Helsinki, the capital of Finland
- Issued new shares worth 0,5 million € in the beginning of 2012
- Is building a new Enercon wind turbine in Ii in Northern Finland
Background of the company
The idea was born at Lumijoki in the early 90's. Local people wanted to utilise the high winds of the coastal district of Lumijoki. The thought was carried further with an aim to build a wind power plant and to sell the electricity to the local owners of the turbine. However there wasn't enough demand for windpower electricity in the Lumijoki area and the project was not realised. The thought lived and was picked up in 1997 by the Dodo ry, an environmental NGO in Finland. A new chance was seen since the liberalisation of the electricity market offered a nation-wide marketing possibility for the project.
Lumituuli Oy as a limited company was founded and registered in February 1998. The ultimate aim of the company is to raise discussion of the possibilities of windpower in Finland. The aim is pursued by building wind generators and by communicating the experiences to the public and decision-makers.
Wind turbines are funded via share emissions which are mainly targeted at private persons. Electricity is only sold to shareholders (and the surplus to Ekosähkö Oy) and thus the concept can be called customer-ownership.
The first stock emission of the company ended 31.8.1998 with excellent results. All 3000 shares of 1250 markkas (210 euros) were sold and Lumituuli now has over one thousand private shareholders on top of the companies and the institutions involved. The first turbine was built in March 1999 to an offshore location in front of the county of Lumijoki. There the annual production of a Vestas 660 kW generator is approximately 1 400 000 kilowatt-hours (kWh). The price of the electricity sold by Lumituuli is competitive in the Finnish electricity markets (for non-electric heated homes). The electricity was priced to cover the depreciation of the initial investment and to yield a roughly 5% return on investment.
The liberalisation has brought about significant changes in the electricity market of Finland. Lumituuli is taking advantage of the opportunity opened for small producers to penetrate the markets with highly differentiated products.
In Northern Finland, Lumituuli is developing an off-shore wind park in Oulunsalo-Hailuoto area near Oulu. Other partners in this project are Metsähallitus (Finnish Forestry Agency) and Oulun Seudun Sähkö (a regional electricity company of Oulu). The whole project consists of up to 50 turbines of 3-5 MW size, with Lumituuli having 8 turbines. Building permits should be awarded in 2013 and construction of the park would then happen in 2012-2017.
The markets of wind power
There is only some supply of windpower in the Finnish market at the moment; only 0,1 % of the total consumption was generated from wind in the end of 1999 and in over ten years this has only increased to 0,3 %. This figure was among the lowest in the whole EU. Notably in Denmark the share of windpower was about 9% and the aim of the government there is to raise the share to 50% by the year 2030. Worldwide the annual increase in the installing of new capacity is over 30% (51% in 1999).
The competitiveness of windpower has risen rapidly. The price per kWh dropped 80% from 1981 to 1996. At a good production site the production costs equals that of new coal powered plant. Furthermore the decline of windpower's price is expected to continue whereas the fossil fuels based sources face pressures of CO2 taxes and other environmental taxation. The decline of windpower's price is mainly due to growing unit size of the commercial wind turbines, the largest at the moment being in 5-10 MW size, and to the growing size of installations. Parks of hundreds of individual turbines are being planned.
In principle Finland has wind production potential to cover tens of percents of the country's electricity demand. The greatest potential is located at the seas, seashore and in the mountain fells of Lapland. Due to the technology development the forecast of the windpower industry is excellent. The domestic manufacturing of various components of wind turbines also has a direct employment effect in Finland. Building wind parks also employs local workforce significantly.
Windpower as an investment
In Denmark windpower has attracted a significant amount of capital from private households. Roughly 100 000 Danes own shares of wind parks and in 2012 80 % of the turbines are owned by cooperatives or private people. The aim of Lumituuli Oy is to strengthen the successful concept of customer-ownership in Finland.
Finland has introduced a feed-in tariff system starting 1.4.2011. The government guarantees a price of 83,5 €/MWh for 12 years. Only new wind turbines are allowed into the system. Large development costs, regulatory approvals and grid connection costs are still obstacles to wide-scale wind power adoption in Finland.
Lumituuli has been planning to replace its current turbine in Lumijoki and issued new shares worth 0,5 million euros in the beginning of 2012. The company now has about 1200 shareholders. Before this re-powering project Lumituuli will build a new Enercon wind turbine in Ii, Northern Finland. The construction is expected to be finished at the end of 2013. Lumituuli is also offering new shares starting from the beginning of October 2013.
tel. Managing Director Sampsa Hario, +358-40-5858483