Eesti Energia renewable energy subsidiary Enefit Green submitted an application for a development plan to Pärnu County's Saarde Municipality this week for the launching of an environmental impact analysis and in order to determine whether it would be possible to build a wind farm with up to ten turbines and a capacity of 70 megawatts near Ristiküla.
"We have spent years investigating opportunities for the construction of new wind farms in Estonia, and our analysis indicated that Saarde Municipality is a location with great wind potential," Enefit Green board chairman Aavo Kärmas said in a press release. "The next step is the environmental impact analysis, which will now determine whether and how the construction of a wind farm in Saarde Municipality would be possible."
Enefit Green is planning on building a wind farm with up to ten wind turbines in Saarde Municipality, which would be located at least one kilometer away from residential buildings and in forest.
According to Kärmas, there is a growing preference globally of establishing wind farms in marine or forested areas, as such wind farms are the least disruptive for people.
"While an offshore wind farm is far enough from the living environment, the forest will mask and dampen the noise from the wind farm, which is already quite minimal," he explained. "For wind farms developed in forested areas, we have followed the examples of Finland and Germany, where several have been established in recent years."
The board chairman also stressed that the company will cooperate closely with the municipality throughout the wind farm project process.
"We realize that all major infrastructure projects need the support of locals, so we are open to sharing information about the project on an ongoing basis," he said. "At the same time, the environmental impact assessment will offer many opportunities for local people to express their opinions."
Kärmas said that it is positive that Saarde municipal leaders already see the wind farm as an opportunity to revive the local economy. "The local business environment would also benefit from this wind farm, as the possibility of a direct electricity connection would provide a significant competitive advantage to those industrial companies establishing production near the wind farm," he added.
The planned capacity of the wind farm, scheduled to be completed in 2025, is up to 70 megawatts. The last major wind farms to be built in Estonia — in Paldiski and in the ash fields outside of Narva — were completed in 2012 and 2013, respectively.
Several projects in the works
Enefit Green and Eesti Energia currently have three wind farm development projects currently in different stages in Estonia — offshore wind farms in Northwestern Estonia and on the Gulf of Riga, as well as a wind farm of up to 30 wind turbines in Lääne County's Lääne-Nigula Municipality. Eesti Energia also wants to continue building Tootsi Wind Farm, should it succeed in acquiring the property in the auction thereof.
At the same time, Enefit Green is also developing wind farms in Lithuania, where the development portfolio currently includes three wind farm projects with a total capacity of 350 megawatts.
According to Kärmas, Enefit Green is working on the basis of Eesti Energia's strategy to find new opportunities to increase renewable energy as the cleanest form of energy production in the Eesti Energia group portfolio. Eesti Energia's goal is to produce 45 percent of electricity from renewable and alternative sources by 2023 already.
Editor: Aili Vahtla