Hiiumaa Residents Tilting Against Windmills ({{commentsTotal}})

Source: Photo: Postimees/Scanpix

Residents of Estonia's second largest island of Hiiumaa are collecting signatures against the construction of a 700-megawatt offshore wind farm.

Developers and representatives of the Hiiu municipality signed an agreement a week ago to analyze the idea of creating Europe’s largest offshore wind farm in Hiiumaa; now the inhabitants are collecting signatures to repeal the decision.

In 2009, the movement named Fighting Windmills submitted summaries of the analysis of their working groups and 7,549 signatures collected against wind farms in the coastal waters of Hiiumaa and on land. The locals feel the authorities have not taken their protest into account, uudised.err.ee reported today.

Inge Talts, an opposition politician in the Hiiu municipality council and one of the initiators of the new campaign, told ERR Radio news the plan is meaningless if the local inhabitants are against it. She also said all the arguments presented in favor of wind farms can be disputed and some funding issues are also unclear.

The project, if completed, would give the islanders a share in the operating company.

The developer is Nelja Energia, a renewable energy company owned by a Norwegian company (69 percent), Estonian investors (29 percent) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (11 percent).

Jaanus Valk, head of the municipality council, disagreed that the petitions of 2008 and 2009 that gathered 8,000 signatures has been ignored, saying they related to wind farms on land and health issues, while the current project of an offshore wind farm would bring in an annual profit of a million euros, in addition to investments.

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