Project company Ilmatar Sonkajärvi Oy (business ID 3252712-2), owned by Ilmatar Energy Oy, is planning a wind farm in the area of Huttusenlehto, located in the eastern part of Sonkajärvi. Ilmatar Sonkajärvi Oy has made a proposal to the municipality of Sonkajärvi for drafting a component master plan to enable building wind turbines. As part of the proposal, Ilmatar Sonkajärvi Oy has submitted an agreement for the land-use plan process to the municipality, to be reviewed by the Sonkajärvi municipal executive board on September 26th, 2022. The component master plan for the project shall be drafted to include the possibility of applying for wind turbine building permits, in accordance with the Land Use and Building Act, section 77 a.
Ilmatar Energy Oy is a Finnish energy company that develops, builds and operates wind farm sites in Finland. Its purpose is to make the structure of Finnish energy production more environmentally friendly. By 2027, the wind power capacity built and owned by Ilmatar in Finland shall be 1,000 MW. The company aims to build another 1,000 MW after 2027. The produced electricity is delivered to Ilmatar’s corporate clients and consumers.
At the moment, there are wind farms under construction in Kurikka (8 turbines), the Humppila-Urjala area (6 turbines), Somero (4 turbines) and Kristiinankaupunki (9 turbines). The largest Ilmatar project under construction is the Louhukangas and Möksy wind farm in Alajärvi, where a total of 36 turbines will begin producing 216 MW of electricity by the end of 2023.
The preliminary component master plan area for the Huttusenlehto wind farm project is located in the eastern part of the municipality of Sonkajärvi, approximately 15 kilometres from central Sonkajärvi (Annex 1). The development area for the project (Annex 2) is located in the Pörönsuo-Volkansuo-Antikaissuo-Pohjankangas area. The development area totals approximately 3,400 hectares.
Ilmatar is planning a maximum of 20 to 25 turbines in the Huttusenlehto wind farm area. One wind turbine has a total rated capacity of approximately 6 to 10 MW (megawatts). The technology of the wind turbines will reflect the technology current at the time of construction. The master plan and the location and number of turbines will be specified in more detail during the land-use planning process and shall consider the reports from the component master plan and the environmental impact assessment (EIA) processes along with various statements, opinions and discussions with stakeholders.
Fingrid Oyj is planning a new 400+110 kV ‘Lake Line’ power line between Vaala and Joroinen, located west from the Sonkajärvi project areas. For the external power transmission of the Huttusenlehto wind power project, there will be investigations for an alternative where the wind farm would be connected to the new 400 or 110 kV switchgear that is to be built with the ‘Lake Line’. In this case, a new east-to-west 110 or 400 kV power line would be built for the wind power project, extending to approximately 35 kilometres depending on the location of the new switchgear.
The development area of the Huttusenlehto wind power project has not been designated as a wind power production area in the currently valid North Savo regional land-use plan, approved by the Ministry of the Environment on January 15, 2014. However, the Regional Council of North Savo has begun to prepare the 2040 regional land-use plan. The draft of its 2nd stage was available to the public from January 11th to March 14th, 2022. In the preparatory phase of the plan’s 2nd stage, it became obvious that there is a need to re-review the potential for wind power in the region. As part of the regional land-use planning work, FCG Finnish Consulting Group Oy submitted a report regarding the potential for wind power in the North Savo region on September 30th, 2021.
In this report, the Huttusenlehto area is identified as an area with potential for wind power, but it is not selected for further analysis in the regional land-use plan draft. Ilmatar Energy Oy and the Regional Council of North Savo have discussed bringing the Huttusenlehto area into the next proposal stage.
The preliminary investigations of Ilmatar’s Huttusenlehto wind power project have been dictated by the minimum distance of 1.5 kilometres required between the planned location of the turbines and the nearest permanent residents or secondary homes. For the sake of clarity, it is established that the precise locations of turbines, the final number of turbines and the ultimate component master plan area shall be determined e.g. through the surveys conducted and statements and opinions received during the land-use planning process.
The environmental impact of the project shall be minimised with detailed planning. Ilmatar has requested for the EIA process and the land-use planning of the Huttusenlehto wind power project to be kept separate and that the joint process, made possible by the Act on Environmental Impact Assessment Procedure, section 22, is not applied. However, the component master plan process and the EIA process of the Huttusenlehto wind power project are integrated in terms of e.g. public events and official procedures.
The Defence Command of the Finnish Defence Forces has provided a positive statement regarding turbines with a maximum total height of 350 metres. The Defence Forces do not object to the building of the planned turbines in the area of Huttusenlehto in Sonkajärvi. The statement by the Defence Forces shall remain confidential.
Ilmatar’s general project schedule for the component master plan and the EIA is as follows:
- The participation and assessment scheme and the EIA programme for the component master plan are prepared in late 2022 and made available to the public in the spring of 2023.
- Any statements and opinions submitted to the participation and assessment scheme and the EIA programme shall be taken into account, and a draft plan and an EIA report shall be prepared. Depending on e.g. any necessary investigations, it is estimated that the report is ready by autumn 2023, after which it is made available to the public.
- A proposal for the final plan is then prepared in the spring of 2024, with any statements and opinions regarding the draft and the EIA report taken into account.
- The approval process of the municipal council is scheduled to take place in 2024.
- After the plan is approved, building permits are applied for.
- The initial construction phase might start in 2025, which means that the wind farm could be in production in 2027–2028.
- Depending on the progress of technology, a wind farm remains in production for an estimated 30 to 40 years, after which the wind turbine operator disassembles the equipment and landscapes the area. Parallel use of the area (for e.g. forestry, hunting and recreational use) is also permitted when wind turbines are in operation.
Project Development Manager
Ilmatar Energy Oy
+358 50 376 5204