Karahka wind farm
Site: Karahka Wind Farm project
Location: Oulainen, Finland
Customer: VSB Uusiutuva Energia Suomi Oy
Project began: 2022
Estimated end of project: 2024
NYAB given comprehensive responsibility for the construction of Karahka Wind Farm
Oulainen, a municipality in Finland’s North Ostrobothnia region, is set to become home to a large-scale wind farm with 25 wind turbines, with an output of at least 150 megawatts. The developer behind the wind farm is VSB Uusiutuva Energia Suomi Oy, which is part of the international VSB Group. The EUR 32 million contract for realisation of a comprehensive construction project was signed with NYAB in July 2022, and construction at Karahka began in autumn 2022. The power plant installations are set to begin in autumn 2023 and continue into 2024. The aim is to connect the wind turbines to the electricity transmission network by the end of 2024. The wind farm is owned by energy company Helen and the Bank of Åland (Ålandsbanken).
NYAB is responsible for the earthworks, foundation work and internal network work for the wind farm, as well as for the construction work for the substation, main transformers and a 110 kV power line. NYAB specialises in these kinds of extensive, so-called balance of plant implementations, where one party is responsible for the infrastructure and electrical work for the wind farm, with the only element falling outside the scope of the delivery being the turbines. Due to the scope of the delivery, this construction project is also substantial for NYAB, which has been involved in the construction of more than 190 wind turbines.
An exceptional project
On the Finnish scale, Karahka is one of the country’s larger wind farms, with double the number of turbines of average wind farms built in the past. Work in the area, which spans approx. 2,300 hectares, involves not just the construction of the foundations for the turbines but also elements such as building 14 kilometres of new roads and improving the condition of existing roads. The distance between turbines is over half a kilometre. The project is also exceptional in that it is bringing to life a brand new solution formed of a 168-metre hybrid tower made of concrete and steel and built on the foundations. Each tower comprises 27 concrete tower elements, with the steel tower section on top of them. The foundations will feature a hollow basement space, which will be home to the heads of steel anchors, used to tension the concrete tower up to a height of approx. 100 metres.
The Karahka project is also significant due to the number of variables it encompasses. NYAB’s extensive expertise in both specialist and infrastructure construction and energy and electricity transmission network construction makes it perfectly positioned to manage such a demanding project. “The cooperation with the developer has progressed well and the project is on schedule – in some sections we have even been able to bring forward the schedules at the customer’s wish. The sequencing of work stages has been carefully planned, as during the busiest periods we have around 60 workers on site each day, the majority of whom are working for NYAB’s partners,” explains Project Director for the Karahka Project Jaakko Tyyvi.
VSB Uusiutuva Energia Suomi Oy is a wind farm project developer and part of the European VSB Group. Development of the Karahka project started in 2016 and the permits were in place by January 2022. “The project has proceeded well thanks our approach of prioritising good relations with the landowners and stakeholders. We aim to meet with landowners in person and seek to be part of the community in the areas where our projects take place. One example of this is the family event held in Karahka in August 2023,” says Karahka Project Manager and VSBs’s Head of Projects Katja Tuukkanen, continuing: “Cooperation with NYAB has been going well in all respects. All parties have embraced an open approach and we have, for example, developed operations and safety on the construction site together.”
Wind power continues to grow
Interest in wind power is currently high, as Finland is seeking energy self sufficiency and investing in renewable energy, with more wind farms set to be built in the coming years. At the same time, the scale of these projects is growing and solutions are being developed as blade dimensions and hub heights grow. NYAB has a strong position as an expert in renewable energy and sustainable infrastructure construction and it is able to offer genuinely turn-key deliveries. Another strength it has is investment in the development of knowledge and resources in the area.