Team Renewable Arctic Finland developing global business opportunities in offshore wind power
Offshore wind power is a globally attractive and trending solution during a time when the energy sector is undergoing major changes. Team Renewable Arctic Finland is an innovation ecosystem that co-creates sustainable and profitable business operations around offshore wind power for the future.
The innovation ecosystem, consisting of 22 Finnish companies, was founded at the beginning of 2021. The companies operate around the world and the Baltic Sea in the maritime industry, shipping, energy production, the offshore sector and infrastructure.
‘The ecosystem’s companies are united by their desire to co-create competitive and comprehensive solutions for the global offshore wind power market,’ says the ecosystem’s project manager, Pekka Pokela, from Gaia. The consortium promotes the worldwide shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy. ‘The changes in the way energy is generated are inevitable, and Finnish expertise will be able to impact emission levels globally.’
The idea for the collaboration was sparked during discussions with the sector’s businesses. ‘Developing sustainable operations and consulting management at a strategic, tactical and operational level is what we do best,’ Pokela says. ‘Supporting business operations that make the world a cleaner and safer place is a value judgment for us and the foundation for all our work.’
One of the consortium companies is Suomen Hyötytuuli Oy, a pioneering offshore wind power expert from Finland. The company constructed the country’s first offshore wind farm in Tahkoluoto, Pori, in 2010. Working together provides credibility when competing against multinational giants.
‘With the first wind farm, the so-called demo project, in 2016, Finns were unable to compete in the bidding, because alone the companies were too small and unaccustomed to carrying out such large-scale projects, particularly in cooperation,’ says CEO Toni Sulameri from Hyötytuuli. A functioning ecosystem is required in the sector. ‘No one can build or fund these projects on their own.’
Global interest in Finnish solutions
In addition to its multidisciplinary nature, Team Renewable Arctic Finland’s strengths include its technological and arctic expertise. According to Pokela, Finnish companies are renowned for their skills in handling cold conditions. ‘Close to 90 per cent of Finland’s exports and imports travel across the sea, even though all of our ports freeze over in the winter. If we could not facilitate wintertime sea transport our entire economy would grind to a halt.’
During the first year, Gaia has, for example, gathered market data on projects, companies and competing solutions connected to offshore wind power. The ecosystem companies have formed concept creation groups that have innovated new product and service models for international businesses. ‘We have been able to sit around the same table as global operators and present Finnish expertise and promising new ideas to them,’ Pokela says.
The ecosystem members share a strong sense of cooperation and confidence that working together will be rewarding and profitable. ‘We have already been able to create functional concepts that international companies are interested in,’ Pokela says. Running an ecosystem that has over 20 member companies requires boldness in making decisions actively. ‘We are on a high and do not intend to sit back and rest on our laurels!’
Wind farms create green jobs
During the first year, Gaia has held several workshops and seminars in Finland. These events have been used to discuss the opportunities and development requirements of offshore wind power with an extensive group of stakeholders and political decision-makers.
‘Offshore wind power is not only connected to Finnish energy and climate policies, but it also offers significant business and export opportunities on a global scale,’ Pokela says. It involves investments in the Baltic Sea region worth tens of billions of Euros. ‘Creating a single offshore wind farm can include the construction and maintenance of 100 turbines, resulting in lots of new green jobs.’
The business ecosystem’s members have been satisfied with the results of their collaboration. ‘The ecosystem has increased our mutual understanding of offshore wind power, in addition to which the government has begun to realise what the sector is about and what it could mean for Finland,’ says Toni Sulameri.
The most important goal in 2022 will be to reach international clients and attend events and bilateral meetings. ‘The companies are eagerly waiting to begin working on the global market and arranging business delegation visits after the pandemic,’ Pokela says.