The sea has always been an important natural resource for Åland. Hunting and fishing were for a long time the way of life and the sea has been their natural route out into the world. The maritime industry has begun with small galleasses and sailing ships and now continues with freighters and large passenger ships, which are crucial for the wellbeing of Åland.
Nevertheless, Åland has enormous potential for large-scale offshore wind power so now it is time to take the next step in Åland’s relationship with the sea by harnessing the winds of the seas for energy production through the Sunnanvind Project.
In this regard, there were identified suitable areas for wind power in the Åland Maritime Spatial Plan. The total area amounts to 1.000 square kilometers and, when fully developed, the total nominal power potential will reach six gigawatts (GW), which corresponds to approximately 100 times the current electricity needs of Åland. This creates a good potential for energy exports.
Highlights of the offshore wind power in Åland waters
The Sunnanvind Project aims is to utilize the Ålandic wind in the maritime areas as a natural resource for large-scale power generation and further refinement to fossil-free forms of energy to provide Åland with new sustainable economic development.
Moreover, the mission of the Sunnanvind project is to enable large-scale offshore wind power to be established with the greatest possible benefit for Åland and as quickly as possible on market terms.
Establishing large-scale offshore wind power on Ålandic waters comes with opportunities for the whole society. It creates the conditions for a significant number of new workplaces – during construction and operation – and it creates opportunities for both existing and new businesses. It also creates a demand for professional labour, which in turn opens possibilities for renewable energy education both on secondary and tertiary levels in Åland.
The Åland University of Applied Sciences will play an important part as the nexus of the research, development, and innovation work following the establishment of the project.
Besides, the Government of Åland aims to form a center of excellence for renewable energy located in the middle of the Nordic region. They want to create conditions for entrepreneurship, innovation, research, and development.