Ørsted and Enefit plan Baltic Sea breakthrough

In: Windfarms
Global offshore wind developer Ørsted is to partner with Enefit, a leading onshore wind energy company and utility in the Baltics. Today (Monday 26th April 2021), the two companies signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), with the ambition of becoming the leading Baltic offshore wind developer.

Under the MoU, the two companies also plan to deliver the first offshore wind farm in the Gulf of Riga, in the Baltic Sea, before the end of the decade. The governments of Latvia and Estonia signed their own MoU for a joint offshore wind farm back in September 2020, and this is the project Ørsted and Enefit plan to deliver under a yet-to-be-established joint venture (JV).

The parallel ministries are targeting a 0.7-1 GW (~3 TWh/year) joint offshore wind tender in 2026. Following Lithuania, the current plan is to adopt a centralized model, with surveys and permits secured by the governments prior to auction. The ministries anticipate a “hybrid” project featuring cross-border transmission. It is intended as an “energy hub”, providing additional connection capacity to projects developed outside of the tender.

Ørsted and Enefit’s JV will target the Liivi offshore wind project in the Estonian part of the Gulf of Riga. Ørsted has also submitted an application for an area in Latvian waters next to the Liivi site. The companies confirmed that they intend to “pursue a cross-border hybrid solution, which will connect an offshore wind farm to both Latvia and Estonia and enable the utilisation of the offshore wind transmission cables as an interconnector between the two countries.”

“The sheer size of offshore wind farms makes them ideal for cross-border hybrid solutions,”
said Rasmus Errboe, Head of Region, Continental Europe at Ørsted. “The Baltic Sea area is becoming a centre for offshore wind build-out which will contribute significantly to the decarbonisation efforts of both the region and the European economy.”

Enefit’s Chairman of the Management Board, Hando Sutter, pointed out that Enefit has been working on an offshore wind farm in the Gulf of Riga for over a decade, “which has given us a good knowledge of the local offshore wind conditions and makes this collaboration well positioned to deliver on the ambitious 2030 targets for Estonia and the Baltic countries.”

Sutter sees offshore wind construction in the Baltic Sea as potentially heralding “a new industry with professional competences and highly qualified long-term jobs in the fields of energy, transport, and logistics. During the construction of an offshore wind farm of this size, thousands of jobs will be created, including in Estonia and Latvia," Sutter said.

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