Wind power can help heal the world and create wealth – Financial sector’s concrete actions in the green transition

Investing in the fund promotes Finland’s energy autonomy and green transition but has also proved very profitable. The Ålandsbanken Wind Power Fund has been the best-performing alternative investment fund for the past three years, report Business Area Director Juha Känkänen and Portfolio Manager Jimmy Forsman from the Bank of Åland.
  • Finns are paying growing attention to sustainability and ESG factors when making investment decisions.
  • This has been noted also at the Bank of Åland. In 2020, the bank launched Finland’s first mutual fund to specialise in wind power ‒ the Ålandsbanken Wind Power Fund.
  • The fund invests in new and already operational wind farms, supporting Finland’s transition towards a carbon neutral economy.
  • This article is part of an article series showcasing Finance Finland member organisations’ concrete actions to promote the green transition.

The Ålandsbanken Wind Power Fund currently owns five wind farms located in different parts of Finland. The fund owns one of the wind farms fully and shares ownership of the other four with the energy company Helen. Two of the farms are already in production, the rest will be completed in early 2025. Investing in the fund is a concrete way to increase wind power and help Finland phase out fossil fuels.

“The Ålandsbanken Wind Power Fund is classified as ‘dark green’, which reflects its focus on responsible and sustainable investments. I can’t think of a more concrete way to invest in a more sustainable future than by financing the construction of new wind power farms. The fund’s investors are welcome to visit the wind farms to see with their own eyes what their investments have helped achieve”, says Jimmy Forsman, portfolio manager at Ålandsbanken Wind Power Fund.

Business Area Director Juha Känkänen from Ålandsbanken Funds Ltd has been involved in the fund’s development since the very start. According to Känkänen, investors have responded to the fund with great enthusiasm: within less than two months of its launch, the fund had accumulated investments totalling €60 million. This was a new record for the Bank of Åland. The energy crisis caused by Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine also showed a clear spike in investments to the fund.

“The Ålandsbanken Wind Power Fund is Finland’s first non-UCITS wind power fund open to the general public and retail investors. Its investors include institutional investors, family-owned companies and ordinary people alike”, Forsman explains.

The fund’s owners include the Bank of Åland as well as Forsman and Känkänen in their personal capacity. Forsman and Känkänen say this shows the bank and its portfolio managers are committed to the fund and firmly believe in its potential.

“We’re in the same boat with the fund’s investors. They can trust that the choices and decisions we make on their behalf will stand up to close scrutiny even five years later”, Känkänen assures.

Growth and new grounds to break in sight

The Ålandsbanken fund’s share of ownership of the total capacity of Finnish wind farms is 320 megawatts, which is about a million megawatt hours. This means that the wind farms owned by the fund cover more than one per cent of the total energy consumption in Finland.

This is a significant achievement in itself, but the fund is constantly on the lookout for new wind power projects to finance. Once the fund has accumulated enough new capital and found a promising new project to invest in, it is likely to add this project into its portfolio.

“We are not only keeping our antennas up for potential wind power projects but are also looking for other forms of renewable energy. We recently expanded the fund’s investment strategy, enabling investments into solar power and energy storage. The latter will become increasingly important in the future”, Forsman says.

Känkänen says responsibility has long been at the heart of the Bank of Åland’s business operations. However, responsibility is not the only lodestar for the bank’s investment operations: they are also driven by the best interest and yield expectations of the investors. According to Känkänen, at the Ålandsbanken Wind Power Fund there has been no need to choose one over the other.

“Not only does investing in the fund promote Finland’s energy autonomy and green transition but it has also proved very profitable. The Ålandsbanken Wind Power Fund has been the best-performing alternative investment fund for the past three years”, Känkänen points out.

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