Defense ministry: Solutions available for radar and wind farms to coexist

Wind turbine at Aidu Wind Park in Ida-Viru county.
Wind turbine at Aidu Wind Park in Ida-Viru county. Source: Sergei Stepanov/ERR

The Ministry of Defence denies allegations that its radars are not working at a high enough capacity to make wind farm activities an issue. At the same time it says that solutions exist to solve the current impasse in the private sector wind farm market, which has seen developers having to put their projects on hold due to issues of radar interference.

"All radars are at the moment working at their intended capacity and fulfilling the objective they were obtained for," the ministry said in a press release Friday afternoon, BNS reports.

The ministry pointed out that the Estonian airspace lies on NATO's eastern flank, making information its sensors pick up critical for its allies, including personnel engaged in Baltic air policing duties, as well as the country itself.

"It is a task of the Ministry of Defence to ensure the military defense of the Estonian state. Based on this, it is also our task to ensure the sustainable operation of the military early warning system," the ministry said.

The ministry says a solution using know-how which enables defense radar and private sector wind farm developers to coexist has been developed.

According to BNS the only technological solutions known at present would be installing additional sensors.

The government announced recently it is obtaining an additional radar for €37 million, utilising CO2 quota money from wind energy development itself.

This would free up a vast area in Ida-Viru County, location of the majority of the wind farms affected, from the current defense-related restrictions.

"As regards the Aidu wind farm, the main thing is to ensure peace at work for the Consumer Protection and Technical Regulatory Authority (TTJA) as the supervisory organization so that they could assess the structures erected there for conformity with valid laws and regulations," the ministry added. 

The TTJA is the main authority currently blocking the most well-known nascent wind farm development at Aidu. While the businessmen brothers behind the project, Oleg and Andres Sõnajalg, won a legal battle at the Supreme Court in September which declared permission to build valid, the TTJA is pressing on with its edict to force the brothers' company, Eleon, to reduce the size of its turbines and their blades (Eleon also makes wind turbines itself).

A Friday press conference with Oleg  Sõnajalg, several other private sector wind farm entrepreneurs, and finance minister Martin Helme's adviser Kersti Kracht, hit out at the defense ministry, as well as the environment ministry and other authorities, over what the speakers see as continued obstructions to their projects. Sõnajalg said he estimated Eleon would make losses of €200,000 a month as a result of the state's blocking of the use of the two turbines already constructed at Aidu. Eleon has already said it would claim damages of well over €100 million for delays over the past two-and-a-half years, as the erected or semi-erected turbines have lain largely dormant.

State-owned Eesti Energia, via its Enefit Green subsidiary, owns several wind farms, with over 150 turbines.

Editor: Andrew Whyte

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