The City of Pori is constructing an international hub for expertise and operations based on offshore wind power, in collaboration with leading companies in the industry. The initiative is being spearheaded by Suisto Kiinteistöt, a city-owned company, which has hired Seppo Ihalainen, who successfully globalized the data centre company Ficolo, to lead the project.
The Gulf of Bothnia area is internationally one of the most favourable areas for the construction of offshore wind farms: Within a radius of 400 kilometres from Pori, a total of 15 larger wind power projects have been announced in Finland and Sweden. Tahkoluoto is already home to the world’s first ice-prone sea wind park, which Suomen Hyötytuuli is significantly expanding.
Meanwhile, Enersense, a publicly traded company, is already constructing technically demanding foundations for offshore wind turbines in the Port of Pori Mäntyluoto harbour area. Additionally, Suomen Hyötytuuli and the Port of Pori have just agreed to build a gravel loading dock at the Port of Pori Tahkoluoto harbour to serve the construction of wind turbine foundations.
The region has strong expertise and infrastructure, providing a solid foundation for developing advanced services required by the industry. The competence hub aims to secure a significant share of investments related to the construction and operation of offshore wind farms in the Gulf of Bothnia. According to the Confederation of Finnish Industries, the total value of planned offshore wind power investments in Finland alone exceeds 42 billion euros.
The hub serves both Finnish and Swedish offshore wind farms
The competence hub will be located on a 50-hectare area in Port of Pori Mäntyluoto harbour. In the initial phase, the area is planned for pre-installation services, assembly, and storage of offshore wind turbines. The construction of offshore wind turbines is demanding and costly, which is why onshore pre-installation plays a crucial role in terms of cost efficiency. The Port of Pori area provides excellent infrastructure for this purpose, which is planned to be further developed. The port area naturally serves as a hub for companies providing maintenance and operation services for the turbines, as well as for specialized vessels used in the construction of offshore wind farms.
The project steering group includes representatives from the City of Pori, the Port of Pori, and the city-owned company Suisto Kiinteistöt, as well as Suomen Hyötytuuli, Enersense, and the Dutch logistics service provider Olmar. In addition, the competence hub aims to attract international technology and service suppliers in the offshore wind power industry.
“There are several significant offshore wind power investments planned for the Gulf of Bothnia. Our goal is to build a competence hub that serves wind power projects in the region, both in Finland and Sweden. We already have one offshore wind park in operation, giving us a head start compared to competitors. We aim to develop Pori as a pioneer in clean energy solutions,” says Lauri Kilkku, CEO of Suisto Kiinteistöt Oy, the company owning properties in the Port of Pori area.
The recent government program provides support for the project in Pori. According to it, “the government sets an ambitious target for offshore wind power capacity by 2035 and creates a competitive advantage for Finland compared to other Baltic Sea countries.” Additionally, the program states that “the government promotes a predictable and encouraging operating environment, as well as smooth project development and construction.”
Suisto Kiinteistöt has hired Seppo Ihalainen, who led the Pori-based data centre company Ficolo to international success and sold his ownership stake last year, to promote the project.
“The principles in green transition projects are similar to those in developing digital infrastructure. Expertise is crucial, and it is necessary to build strong ecosystems. Wind power expertise and port development provide a solid foundation for industrial investments related to solar power and green hydrogen production,” says Seppo Ihalainen.
The project has already been initiated, and during the upcoming autumn, the business model and financing structure for the project will be determined. The project steering group consists of the following organizations: City of Pori, The Port of Pori Oy, and Suisto Kiinteistöt Oy.