Legal Alert – New Fee To Resolve Military Radar Problems Caused By Wind Farms
According to the Finnish Defence Forces, wind farm development may cause problems for the operation of military surveillance radars. Currently wind power projects may require an approval from the Defence Forces. This has created obstacles for wind power projects in certain areas of Finland. To change the situation the Ministry of Employment and the Economy has prepared a government bill on development areas for wind power and development area fees for compensating radar costs. It is proposed that the wind power development fee could be set off against the feed-in tariff.
The most important element of the government bill is that the obstacles for wind farm construction created by the Defence Forces duties will cease at the same time as the Act enters into force. Even if a project in the past has received an unfavourable statement from the Defence Forces, the project could now be permitted to proceed under the bill.
According to the bill the first development area for wind power will be established in the Bay of Bothnia area (see map). Wind power producers in the development area will pay a development area fee for each constructed wind turbine. The amount of the fee is to be determined at a later point, but the Finnish Wind Power Association has given a recommendation of a maximum fee of 50,000 euros. With these fees the costs resulting from the decision to establish a development area, such as the costs of improving the surveillance by acquiring a new radar, will be compensated. The Government is looking into participating in the initial phase of the financing, so that the additional radar could be ordered this summer.
The government bill is available in Finnish on the web. The new Act is expected to enter into force on 1 July 2013. If the proposed Act enters into force, new wind farms may be operational as early as 1 January 2014.