Åland needs to boost its economic growth and the development of the local business life. With the right approach, offshore wind power can make our society more robust in the long term. Offshore wind power investments around the Åland Islands are of such magnitude that realizing them requires international capital. At the same time, Åland naturally wants to know the companies it is dealing and collaborating with.
Ilmatar is a Finnish company backed by European capital from funds and from the European Investment Bank (EIB), which is the safest possible financing model in the times we are living in. Thus far, Ilmatar has planned and built offshore wind parks for over one billion euros. All the wind power projects developed by us have been constructed and financing them has not posed any problems, which we understand as a proof of our concept.
And yet – how can Åland profit from all of this?
Taxes and rental payments are the most obvious income items and profit the Åland society as a whole during the entire lifespan of the windparks. In addition to these sources of direct income, the society will be bolstered by general societal and socioeconomic growth. When done in the right way, offshore wind power can become a key factor boosting our socio-economic robustness.
Ilmatar has worked with land-based wind power for a long time. We know that in locations where we have successfully collaborated with the local society, most people and companies have been able to profit from the advantages as well as the ripple effects. This also means success for us, and this is what our business model is all about. We want to have the local community onboard.
According to our plan, the Åland community will be able to profit from offshore wind power for many decades to come.
We must think further than the highest bid
The question of distribution of rent and property tax is being investigated by the Government of Åland and the municipalities within the region.
Under the provisions of the European Union competition law, public actors such as the Government of Åland must ensure that the compensation made in connection with assignment of property adheres to market value. The rights for developing wind power within the territorial waters of Åland must thus be exposed to competition in one way or another.
We at Ilmatar Offshore believe that the framework and criteria for such a competitive market should include sustainability-related aspects as well as socioeconomic profit for the local communities. We must think further than the highest bid, and instead opt for agreements that maximize the long-term economic advantages for the Åland community.
All in all, offshore wind can become a significant addition to the Åland budget.
We must educate the wind power competency of tomorrow
Once upon a time, it was said that every ship around the world needed one sailor from Åland. Our vision is that every offshore wind power project around the world has onboard an expert from Åland. There is already a deficiency of competent employees in the Åland Sea, and many new projects are underway in the Baltic Sea region. With its long traditions and specialty skills in seafaring, Åland has the potential to become an educational competence hub for developing offshore wind power in exposed locations, a speciality area in high demand all around the world. As early as in 2020, the Åland University of Applied Sciences launched the engineering program Automation, Electricity, Energy, and Environment (in Swedish = Automation, El, Energi och Miljö, AEEM), where renewability has an integral role.
In the spring of 2022, Ilmatar Offshore established a scholarship that can be applied for by students at the Åland University of Applied Sciences who hope to specialize further within offshore wind power. In addition, we are planning a wind power technician education on the upper secondary school level.
We must dare to grow and develop
Barely off the drawing board, offshore wind power is already creating new career opportunities on Åland – we at Ilmatar Offshore have been recruiting talent since day one and continue to grow as we develop projects in more areas. How the roles of the local companies and actors are shaped in the value chains is largely up to the people of Åland and the companies themselves. Ilmatar Offshore strives to primarily recruit local people and collaborate with local companies from Åland.