Challenges

What are some of the technical, political, financial or regulatory challenges to corporations adopting green energy in the short/medium term in your country and how have these challenges been overcome (or how can they be overcome)?

Traditionally, industrial companies and municipalities in Finland have secured their energy needs through the so-called "mankala-structure" where the companies and municipalities are direct or indirect shareholders in hydro or nuclear energy companies.

The Mankala-structure is a special cost price model where owners of a joint energy company have the right to buy the produced energy at cost price and are proportionally responsible for the costs. Mankala companies are non-profit companies with the sole purpose of producing energy for its owners at cost price. The owners benefit by using the received energy for their own industry or by re-selling it forward to third-party customers.

In Finland renewable energy sources represent about 40% of energy end-consumption. The aim set by the Finnish government in the National Energy and Climate Strategy to 2030 is to increase the use of renewable energy so that during the 2020s its share in energy end-consumption rises to more than 50%. 

Last modified 16 Dec 2020

Finland

Finland

To what extent are corporate PPAs presently deployed and what sort of structure do they take?

The PPA market in Finland is still relatively under-developed, at least compared to Norway and Sweden , where power investments have increased significantly after the expansion of the electricity certificate system. However, the number of signed PPAs in Finland is expected to rise after the support from the state aid under the feed-in tariff scheme came to its end at the end of 2018. More than 75% of total consumption in Nord Pool countries is traded through Nord Pool Spot.

The first signed PPA drafted in Finland related to wind power output and was announced in the summer of 2018. However, before that project, there were a number of PPAs involving a Finnish party.

Do the country's regulators allow corporate owners to purchase (1) directly from a facility, or (2) from a choice of suppliers?

The Finnish regulator allows both direct and sleeved PPAs as well as financial PPAs. The fact that the parties (both producer and offtaker) may be located in different Nordic price areas or in different Nordic countries does not restrict them from entering into PPAs (including physical PPAs).

Other than the generator and the off-taker, are any third parties commonly party to the PPA structure (e.g. a utility or other market agent)?

Although a standard practice has yet to be developed in Finland, agreements involving third parties are possible. In such PPAs, the third party typically acts as an intermediary between the producer and the buyer. For example, transmitted electricity may need to be converted into a form determined by the offtaker. In addition, a third party may be responsible for balancing for either the producer or the offtaker (or both).

Is a generator permitted to sell electricity directly to an end user? If so, do they require a licence or other form of authorization?

Direct selling is permitted in Finland. The sale of electricity does not need licensing. PPAs may be entered into directly between the producer of electricity and the buyer, or electricity may be transmitted using a third party intermediary.

Last modified 16 Dec 2020

Finland

Finland

What are some of the technical, political, financial or regulatory challenges to corporations adopting green energy in the short/medium term in your country and how have these challenges been overcome (or how can they be overcome)?

Traditionally, industrial companies and municipalities in Finland have secured their energy needs through the so-called "mankala-structure" where the companies and municipalities are direct or indirect shareholders in hydro or nuclear energy companies.

The Mankala-structure is a special cost price model where owners of a joint energy company have the right to buy the produced energy at cost price and are proportionally responsible for the costs. Mankala companies are non-profit companies with the sole purpose of producing energy for its owners at cost price. The owners benefit by using the received energy for their own industry or by re-selling it forward to third-party customers.

In Finland renewable energy sources represent about 40% of energy end-consumption. The aim set by the Finnish government in the National Energy and Climate Strategy to 2030 is to increase the use of renewable energy so that during the 2020s its share in energy end-consumption rises to more than 50%. 

Last modified 16 Dec 2020

Finland

Finland

Are there any anticipated regulatory changes which will alter the regulatory landscape for corporate green energy and corporate PPAs?

We are currently not aware of any regulatory changes that might affect the regulatory landscape for corporate green energy and corporate PPAs in Finland. Almost all political parties are, however, committed to targets set by the EU to reduce to greenhouse gas emissions and to enhance the regulatory and financial prerequisites for renewables.

However, the governmental goal referred to in Challenges and the overall aim to reduce emissions may require regulatory changes and economic incentives.

Last modified 16 Dec 2020

Finland

Finland

What is the corporate appetite for green energy, including any political or financial incentives available to corporates to adopt green energy?

In the Finnish energy market, the solar and wind energy sectors are still fairly limited.

However, increasingly, companies have committed to reducing their carbon footprint and to sourcing electricity from renewable energy as an indication of being responsible actors in the market. In addition, PPAs allow companies to hedge against the significant level of price fluctuation in the Nordic market. In recent times the production costs of wind power have lowered and made it a commercially competitive source for long-term electricity supply.

According to the statistics published by the Finnish Wind Power Association in 2019, 5.987 TWh of electricity was generated by wind power (based on information from Energiateollisuus ry 29.1.2020), which covered approximately 7 % of Finland's electricity consumption. At the end of 2019, Finland had wind power capacity that totalled to 2 284 MW (754 wind power plants). 56 new wind turbines were assembled in 2019 (243 MW). Further, according to the statistics published by the Finnish Wind Power Association based on publicly available information on 26 April 2020 there were  wind power investments totalling 1 629 MW in Finland for which construction is already underway and by February 2020 appr. 18500 MW of wind power projects had been announced. Out of the 27 projects for which the construction is underway, at least six (6) has been announced to be based on PPAs.

These statistics indicate the great potential of PPAs in the near future in the wind power market.

What are the key local advantages of the corporate PPA model which can benefit our clients?

Local advantages in Finland regarding the use of PPAs include excellent wind conditions, large share of unutilised land, net power deficit and governmental goal to reach full coal exit by 2030. In addition, Finland is part of the Nordic wholesale electricity market (Nord Pool), which includes the Nordic countries as well as the Baltic countries. The Nord Pool enables sale and purchase of electricity between the Nordic countries as well as day-ahead and intraday trading, clearing and settlement, data and compliance. The power grids in the Nordic countries are interconnected; Finland is in direct contact with the system of Sweden, Norway, Estonia and Russia.

Further, according to Transparency Int., Finland is the third least-corrupt nation, which provides a strong basis for large scale projects.

One special characteristic of the Finnish market is that the feed-in-tariff subsidy scheme was replaced by a premium auction scheme for 1.4 TWh of new capacity, which was executed through the auction process finalized in March 2019.

In addition, the prices of emission rights were on the rise in 2018 and are expected to continue to rise. This in turn affects the prices of stock exchange electricity because the rising costs of emission rights affect the production costs of electricity produced with peat and fossil fuels.

What subsidies are applicable to the generation and sale of renewable energy?

A new subsidy scheme, the "premium scheme", was recently introduced in Finland. The scheme is based on technology neutral tendering. In the process, the projects based on renewable energy which offer the greatest annual output with lowest premiums are approved into the scheme. The total output volume of the scheme is limited to 1.4 TWh under a tender process, which was executed through an auction process finalized in March 2019. Currently there is no information available on future auction processes in Finland.

Does your country implement a national support scheme with tradable green certificates (such as guarantees of origins)?

Yes. Guarantee of origin ("GO") is a certificate that is issued for electrical energy produced using renewable energy sources in accordance with the applicable legislation. If an electricity supplier sells or uses renewable energy in its marketing, it must verify the origin of the electricity. GOs may be transferred from one account holder to another within the Finnish GO register, and GOs can also be imported/exported between other AIB (Association of Issuing Bodies) member registers. Currently the market value of the GOs is limited.

Last modified 16 Dec 2020

Finland

Finland

To the extent corporate PPAs are deployed, how are prices, terms and risks affected?

Do prices tend to be floating or fixed?

It is not possible to ascertain the standard approach to pricing in view of the low number of PPAs concluded so far and the limited publicly information available from the individual agreements.

What term is typically agreed for the PPAs?

According to the Finnish Wind Power Association, the typical term of PPAs is from 10 - 20 years.

Are the PPAs take-or-pay or limited volume?

The few concluded PPAs have generally been based on the take-or-pay principle.

Are there any other typical risks?

One of the typical risks is currency exposure, which may affect parties outside the Eurozone.

In addition, there is power transmission risk depending on the place of delivery. In the Nordics the fact that parties  to an agreement are located in different price zones or countries does not limit the possibility of entering into a contract. PPAs have been drafted between parties located in different countries.

These risks should be taken into account in PPAs as appropriate.

To the extent corporate PPAs are deployed, in whose favour will the risks typically be balanced?

Volume risk

Where a PPA is based on fixed volume, the producer bears the risk. Conversely, with a pay-as-produced PPA, the off-taker bears the risk. Our experience is that Finnish PPAs have so far mainly been concluded on the take-or-pay basis.

Change in law

Given the limited number of PPAs concluded so far, it is not possible to ascertain a standard approach to the risk of a change in law at this stage.

Increase / reduction of benefits

Given the limited number of PPAs concluded so far, it is not possible to ascertain a standard approach to the risk of an increase/reduction of benefits at this stage.

Market liberalisation (if applicable)

Not applicable.

Credit risk

The use of conventional security and guarantee instruments is common but, due to low volume of signed PPAs, standard practice is hard to ascertain with accuracy.

Imbalance power risk

Imbalance power risk refers to the risk that the produced amount of electricity differs from the predicted amounts with the result that the production and consumption are imbalanced on intraday or balancing energy markets.

In that scenario, the costs of balancing energy may be high and therefore significantly increase the costs of the party bearing that risk. A party may be better placed to bear this risk if, for example, it has existing energy sources which can be used for balancing in its portfolio.

Production profile risk

The consumption profile is usually more stable than the production profile. Usually this risk is allocated to the buyer under a PPA and the buyer acquires any missing volume from the market. Under the PPA, a third party may also take responsibility for providing the missing electricity in order to manage this risk.

Last modified 16 Dec 2020

Finland

Finland

Does your country operate a balancing responsibility scheme?

Yes.

If your country operates a balancing responsibility scheme, who is the balancing authority and do the generator and offtaker typically undertake balancing themselves?

The balancing authority in Finland is Finextra Oy, a subsidiary of Fingrid Oyj. The party responsible for balancing may be either the producer, the off-taker or a third party and the party best placed to do so will vary on a case by case basis. Usually in physical PPAs the parties have the same balancing responsible party and this is a prerequisite in pay-as-produced PPAs. In synthetic PPAs the parties always have different balancing responsible parties.

Last modified 16 Dec 2020

Finland

Finland

What significant transactions/deals have taken place in the last 12-18 months?

Prokon Wind Energy Finland Oy announced in September 2019 that Prokon and Neoen-owned project company have entered into a 130 MW PPA with Google. With the agreement, Google will purchase 130 megawatts of the planned 250 megawatts of the Mutkalammi wind farm to be built in the Kannus, Kalajoki and Kokkola areas. Construction work on the wind farm will start in early 2021 and the planned commissioning will take place at the end of next year. Electricity supplies will begin in 2022. Mutkalampi is the second cooperation project between Prokon and Neoen after a first PPA entered into with Google on the 81-megawatt wind farm in Närpiö's Hedet.

In May, 2019, it was announced that a Swedish mining and smelting company Boliden AB has agreed to purchase 415 GWh of wind power to supply some of its operations in Sweden and Finland. The company has signed a long-term power purchase agreement (PPA) with an unnamed wind power developer. Under its terms, Boliden will be supplied with 240 GWh of electricity in Sweden and 175 GWh in Finland, which will be sourced from wind farms situated near its mining and smelting sites in Boliden, Sweden, and Kokkola, Finland.

In June 2020, Wpd AG announced its 15-year PPA whereby a Finnish retail company K Group will buy over 40 GWh of power a year from Wpd.

What transactions/deals are anticipated to come to market in the next 12-18 months?

Wind farm projects are relatively common in Finland and have been on the rise during the recent years. Further information about different projects in Finland can be found from the pages of Finnish Wind Power Association and from the following chart (Source: Finnish Wind Power Association, updated in February 2020 by Etha Wind):

Onshore Projects MW WTG
6 Under Construction 22 1347 278
5 Fully Permitted 69 3839 845
4 Land Use Plan or STR Done 44 2788 682
3 STR Process Ongoing 1 15 3
3 Land Use Plan Proposal 11 1093 181
3 EIA Done 8 1434 187
2 Land Use Plan Draft 2 137 32
2 EIA Process Ongoing 7 1267 194
1 Land Use Plan Process Started 14 2444 392
0 Identified Project / Pre-Screening 27 1428 315
In Total 205 15792 3109

 

Offshore Projects MW WTG
4 Land Use Plan or STR Done 3 820 166
3 EIA Done 2 1120 120
0 Identified Project / Pre-Screening 2 800 100
In Total 7 2740 386

Last modified 16 Dec 2020

Finland

Finland

Hans Sundblad

Hans Sundblad

PartnerDLA Piper Finland Attorneys Ltd
Antti Niemi

Antti Niemi

Partner, Head of Real EstateDLA Piper Finland Attorneys Ltd
Tuija Kaijalainen

Tuija Kaijalainen

PartnerDLA Piper Finland Attorneys Ltd