Estonian project launches EIA process

In: Windfarms
Estonian developer Tuuletraal has submitted its Environmental Impact Assesment (EIA) Programme for its proposed offshore wind project and combined mussel farm in the Gulf of Riga, Estonia.

Tuuletraal obtained an exclusive licence from the Estonian government to carry out environmental studies and subsequently qualify for a 50-year lease in 2019. As part of the building permit procedure developers must prepare an EIA, which they can begin once an EIA Programme has been approved. Tuuletraal submitted its draft EIA Programme for approval on 23rd September.

Major revisions to wind farm design include upgrade of turbine capacity from 5 MW to 14-18 MW. Tuuletraal is currently the only Estonian project beyond the 5 km visibility buffer line enabling use of 250-300 metre high turbines. Developers are also considering capacity increase with up to three 350 MW phases.

The study programme for the EIA includes an evaluation of hydrogen generation offshore or onshore, with options of a pipeline to the transmission network, conversion to ammonia-marine fuel, rail transport with the restoration of the former Virtsu railway, land transport and re-conversion to electricity.

The project also plans to incorporate aquaculture with estimated mussel production of 50,000t per year with additional benefits of removal of excess nitrogen and phosphorus from the Baltic Sea by shellfish.

Tuuletraal hopes to build the wind farm without subsidy, and to involve one of the world's TOP 10 offshore wind energy companies from a NATO member state in the ownership structure.

Providing the project progresses to construction, the wind turbines and transmission system will be installed from 2026 to 2028 and mussel farming activity will launch in 2029/2030.

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