Estonian government kicks off permit process

In: Windfarms

The Estonian Ministry of Economic Affairs and Infrastructure has started the permit process and environmental impact assessment for three offshore wind farms to be located off the Gulf of Riga. The projects include the 1 GW
Gulf of Riga Gulf project proposed by state-owned Eesti Energia, a 380 MW project from Tuuletraal and a single turbine project by Five Wind Energy.

According to Taavi Aasa, Minister of Economic Affairs and Infrastructure, offshore wind farms will play a major role in Estonia's move towards climate neutrality. “If we are to gradually reduce our dependence on oil shale electricity, we need to work on alternatives today. Several studies have shown that one of the most realistic options is the development of offshore wind farms. If we add biomass cogeneration plants, good cable connections to neighbors, and small-scale distributed generation to the equation, we will be able to breathe even cleaner air by 2050 than today,"  said Minister Taavi Aas.

Eesti Energia started developing its
Gulf of Riga Gulf project back in 2009. It has completed primary investigations which includes wind measurements, seabed, ice and bird surveys have already been carried out. The project is to consist of up to 160 wind turbines with a total capacity of 1,000 MW. It is anticipated that should the project come to fruition, is could cover almost half of Estonia's electricity demand. The wind farm is slated to be completed before 2030.

According to Aavo Kärmas, CEO of Enefit Green, a member of the Eesti Energia group, it has been agreed in the Pärnu marine spatial plan that the building permit area is well suited for the development of wind energy. Wind, ice and bird surveys carried out so far by Eesti Energia have also shown that the location is suitable for the construction of an offshore wind farm.

“We thank the government for today's decision. The Gulf of Riga offshore wind farm has the potential to become the first joint Estonian-Latvian renewable energy production project, as the Latvian-developed wind farm development area is only 10 km away from the Gulf of Riga. There is no experience of building an offshore wind farm in Estonia, so it is logical that an offshore wind farm of this size will be made in cooperation with several companies. The doors are open for cooperation between partners,”
Kärmas said.

“Given the cross-border nature of potential co-operation, the importance of co-operation between the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications and its Latvian counterpart in agreeing on the infrastructure solution needed to develop the project should be emphasized. We hope to continue the excellent cooperation in this regard,”
added Kärmas.

Tuuletraal's project includes the installation of 76 wind turbines with a total capacity of 380 MW equipped with including mussels farming equipment in-between the turbines. Located between 24 and 30 km from Saaremaa, Kihnu and the is also subject to the approval of the Latvian government due to its preferred export cable route.  

Five Wind Energy is in the process developing a 4MW turbine to be installed off the south coast of Saaremaa. The 90-metre turbine would be located just 200 meters from Nasva. The structure to be erected would consist of an artificial island with slope insurance and breakwaters.

Earlier this month the governments of Latvia and Estonia have announced plans to jointly develop an offshore wind project in the Gulf of Riga. The joint project is expected to bring economic benefits and contribute to the energy security of both countries by diversifying sources of supply. Both ministers agreed on the need for further project progress and decided that the next step was to develop guidelines for a collaborative project.

For more information on wind farm developments,
click here. Alternatively, click here for our interactive map of offshore wind farms, infrastructure and ports.

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