Arctic Renewable Energy – arctic “start-up”
The idea to establish Arctic Renewable Energy Oy (Ltd) was born in 2021. Tommi Vanha from Pello, whose company produces, among other things, soil, had for years tested solar panels on his land in the Orajärvi village in Pello in western Lapland. One day, media entrepreneur Tommi Lappalainen, who has also a master’s degree in Geography and Spatial planning, visited from Rovaniemi to make a video for Vanha’s company. Among the Tommis, there was a lot of chatter about how brilliantly the solar panels produced electricity in Pello’s arctic microclimate. Over a cup of coffee, it dawned on the Tommis that the Vanha brothers owned a disused 15-hectare sand mining area in the village (next to highway E8), which might be well-suited for producing arctic solar power.
With the enthusiasm of a geographer, Lappalainen began to familiarize himself with, for example, the microclimate of the Tornio Valley, the soil and shape of the abandoned sand mining area, the technologies of new double-sided laser cut panels that utilize reflections from the snow, scientific publications in the field, studies from Oulu University, etc.. The conclusion was that the development and application of new technologies, the boom of the fossil fuel-free steel industry in northern Finland and Sweden, the transition of heavy transport to green hydrogen, and the strong volatility in the price of electricity would finally make arctic solar power commercially viable. Lappalainen saw the location of Tornio Valley solar power parks along the commercially and geopolitically important European highway E8 as a significant trump card.
From these insights and the common desire to fight against climate change, the idea of an arctic solar power development company was born, whose first pilot solar power plan would be ARE Park Pello One. The start of the war in Ukraine in February 2022 only further strengthened the vision, as it strongly increased the desire of northern peoples to become independent of Russia’s fossil fuels.
During the founding phase of Arctic Renewable Energy, other hard-working entrepreneurs from Lapland joined, namely Tommi Vanha’s brothers Kalervo and Jari Vanha, as well as Lappalainen’s long-time partner, Rovaniemi’s Lehtoniemi family, which wholly or partially owns several successful companies. In addition, Kimmo Collander, an expert familiar with the duties of the board of directors, and with whom Lappalainen previously worked in the 90s in Brussels for the EU, became a partner and chairman of the board.
This team of open-minded entrepreneurs has a deep vision and the willpower to develop arctic solar power in a commercially successful and innovative way for the benefit of the nature, the North, Finland and future generations.