Visit a Wind Farm Day encourages to visit wind farms and increases awareness of wind power

  • co-operation,
  • onshore wind power,
  • stakeholders,
  • sustainability

Saturday, 15 June, is World Wind Day, which the Finnish Wind Energy Association this year celebrates with the launch of the Visit a Wind Farm Day. Wind farms are generally unrestricted to visit, but there are some specifics you need to know. Here, Jussi Mäkinen and Lauri Vierto, from Ilmatar’s project development, give tips on what to consider when visiting a wind farm for hunting or outdoor activities.

The aim of the ‘Visit a Wind Farm’ day is to make wind power areas more accessible to residents, entrepreneurs, holiday homeowners and decision-makers. The wind industry wants to be a good neighbor and an active player in the area, and wind power can coexist with both hunting and outdoor activities. The plan is to make ‘Visit a Wind Farm’ an annual event that offers information about wind power, how to plan and build a wind farm, and clean electricity production on site.

The public right to access

Ilmatar owns eight wind farms across Finland, areas where you are generally always free to move around under the right of public access. However, there are some important factors to consider regarding outdoor activities in the areas.

Lauri Vierto, who leads Ilmatar’s project development team in Eastern Finland, has recently created a guide for hunters in wind power areas cooperating with a hunting association in Kainuu:

– We identified the need during the permit process for our Löytösuo wind power project in Kajaani. Löytösuo is located in an area where the Vuolijoki Hunting Association is active, one of the largest hunting associations in Finland. Ilmatar and the hunting association jointly came to the conclusion that we needed to design a practical guide for hunting and wind power to successfully coexist. We implemented the guide together with the Finnish Wind Power Association to offer hunters, wind power developers and constructors’ practical advice as well as learnings on communication and interaction with stakeholders.

Vierto mentions that the guide has received much praise for its clarity and practicality. You can read the guide in electronic form here (in Finnish).

Practical advice

Over the years Ilmatar’s Jussi Mäkinen, Director, Project Development, has hosted many visitors at wind farms. Many may think that wind farms would restrict access to the area or surrounding nature. This is not true.

– The right of public access applies in wind farm areas. We encourage people to visit operational wind farms, for example, for berry picking and mushroom hunting. Another visit tip relates to the sound of wind turbines. Both for me and for the guests we have invited to our project areas, the first time we arrive it is surprising how quiet the wind turbines are, even if you are standing right next to the foundation, Jussi Mäkinen says.

Mäkinen reminds that wind farm roads are maintained year-round. However, access can be more restricted during the construction phase.

– During the construction phase, it is important to note temporary restrictions on vehicle movement, and like with all tall structures, one should avoid moving under the turbines in winter due to the risk of falling ice.

Ilmatar’s guide is currently only available in Finnish, but here we have gathered the most essential information on hunting and outdoor activities in wind farms:

General information

• A good road network will be built in and around the wind farm, or the existing road network will be significantly improved. The roads to the wind farms are maintained all year round, and are free to use.

• The right of public access applies to wind farms, and we encourage people to visit operating wind farms, for example, to pick berries and mushrooms.

• During the construction phase, the general safety regulations for construction projects must be observed. The components of wind turbines are long and require space when turned, which can limit accessibility at times.

• When parking your own vehicles, you should remember that large and heavy vehicles can also move around the area.

• During winter, you should avoid being near the turbines. Ice and snow from the blades normally fall close to the turbine towers, but can also fly further away.

• If anything unusual is noticed when moving around the area, please immediately contact the wind farm’s monitoring centre, which operates around the clock. The telephone number is visible on the base of the wind turbine.

Information for hunters

• Wind farms do not restrict hunting opportunities, and there are currently no plans for legislation that would restrict movement or hunting within wind farms.

• Our project managers are happy to address the needs and wishes of hunters and hunting teams as early as possible in the planning phase. We are of course available to hunting teams at all stages of project development.

• During the planning phase for the wind energy project, several public meetings are organised. We recommend hunting teams should actively participate in

  • co-operation,
  • onshore wind power,
  • stakeholders,
  • sustainability