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Last year, YIT took major steps in wind power development in Finland and Sweden. “We offer the entire package as a turnkey delivery, if the customer is interested.”
The Nordic countries are world leaders in the use of renewable energy sources like wind and hydropower. This is why both energy sources are strategic business activities for YIT that will also bring Finland, Sweden and Norway closer to their sustainable development objectives.
In 2012, YIT began project development for wind power in Finland, which included wind farm planning all around the country. Up until now, YIT’s role has been in project development, which includes land leasing, organising projects and preparing zoning contracts. YIT has also previously built more than 100 foundations for wind turbines as well as other infrastructure, such as roads, close to wind power plants in Finland and Sweden.
Last November, YIT took an important new step and sold the company’s first self-developed wind power project to Suomen Hyötytuuli Oy.
“With tender-based contracting projects, we have generally wanted to carry out the entire contract and have usually included everything in our tender. In many projects, we have also built only the foundations. Approximately one third of all wind farm infrastructure contracts are like this and also include earthworks and electrical engineering,” says Mika Virtanen, YIT’s Vice President of Industry, Energy and Water Supply.
Virtanen emphasises that the Group sees great potential in wind power. Energy companies and foundations are interested in purchasing wind farms, seeking profits from what is currently the cheapest way to produce energy.
“We offer the entire package as a turnkey delivery, if the customer is interested.”
According to Virtanen, there are a lot of different operators in Finland offering wind power project development, but YIT is the only construction company among them.
In Sweden, YIT received its first wind farm contract last October. YIT and Stavro Vind AB will carry out foundation work for a new wind farm in Northern Sweden. The contract is worth EUR 35 million and covers the Balance of Plant work for a new wind farm, namely the turbine foundations and lifting areas as well as the wind park’s internal roads and cabling.
Both Sweden and Finland have ambitious goals in reaching carbon neutrality: Finland’s goal is 2035, Sweden’s is 2045. Wind power will play a key role in carbon neutrality. According to different political parties, the share of wind power should increase from its current level of approximately 7% to 15–30% by 2030, as was reported by YLE. At the moment, however, wind power capacity is increasing too slowly. In Sweden, receiving an environmental permit can take up to 10 years, the Swedish Wind Energy Association’s discovered. According to Virtanen, the largest hindrance in Finland is complaints.
“Currently, it’s too easy to slow down the zoning process by filing a complaint.”
“The wind power industry has seen an interesting opening in Sweden that has garnered interest in other Nordic countries as well,” says Fredrik Sarvell, YIT Sweden’s Business and Technical Development Manager.
“We have been developing a novel concept where waste heat produced by data centres is combined with wind power for food production. This leaves data centres with very low emissions.”
The new concept brings wind power close to data centres. This allows the data centres to form an electricity contract where electricity is created using wind power. The data centres produce their energy using wind turbines and preferably solar cells, whereas waste energy produced by the centres is sold and transmitted to nearby greenhouses, where it will help farmers grow food locally. Waste energy can also be sold to the district heating system, where it will reduce the amount of fossil fuel used. The goal of the process is to reach a net zero carbon footprint.
This will have a major impact as a data centre can produce as much excess heat as a small city spends in a year, according to Sarvell. YIT’s solution allows up to 70% of excess data centre heat to be captured and used.