Eesti Energia buys Tootsi wind farm at auction for €51.5 million

Public auction of the Tootsi wind farm property: left side Kristjan Rahu, Utilitas, right front two Eesti Energia board members.
Public auction of the Tootsi wind farm property: left side Kristjan Rahu, Utilitas, right front two Eesti Energia board members. Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

Eesti Energia offered the highest bid at the auction for the land at Tootsi wind farm, organized by the State Forest Management Center (RMK). The final price was €51,5 million.

The final price was more than four times higher than the starting price.

Four bidders took part in the auction: Eesti Energia AS, OÜ Utilitas, Tuuleenergia OÜ (Lithuania) and Energiainvesteeringute AS (Lithuania).

At a public auction on Tuesday, the starting price for the 160-hectare plot was €12.3 million. Participants had to pay a deposit of € 1.23 million and a participation fee of € 3,000. The auction is still ongoing.

The minimum bid for an auction is €50,000. Auction opening and closing prices include VAT.

The Tootsi wind farm property is located in Metsaküla, Vändra rural municipality, it is 160 hectares and the property consists of 40 cadastral units, 38 of which are intended for erection of wind turbines and two for gauge towers. The plan states only a wind farm can be built on the property.

The initial auction price of the property was already set in 2017 at € 12.3 million according to an expert assessment, and in 2019 it was reaffirmed.

If the highest bidder decides not to sign the bid, he forfeits the contract and the auction deposit will not be refunded. In the event of refusal to sign, the participant who has made the next highest bid shall be entitled to the property until the bidder who signs has been identified.

Elering will decide on support

Existing renewable energy producers receive up to 600 gigawatt-hours of subsidies per year, but new generators have to participate in a state-run bid to qualify for the subsidy due to a change in the law. 

Elering will have to decide in the future whether the Tootsi wind farm is considered an old or a new manufacturer. As to whether and to what extent the owner of the wind farm will receive renewable energy support said spokesman Ain Köster. ERR was told on Monday Elering will decide only after the wind farm has been completed and an application has been received from the owner.

The government decided to auction the Tootsi wind farm property at a cabinet meeting on November 28 and issued guidelines to the Ministry of the Environment.

In December 2016, the Government decided to transfer the Tootsi property to AS Eesti Energia in kind. The company also filed complaints against the order with the European Commission and the court seeking to acquire the property. In April 2017, the government repealed the above-mentioned order and gave the Ministry of the Environment a guideline to sell the Tootsi wind farm property by public auction.

In 2017, the auctioning of the Tootsi property was appealed against by the Sõnajalga brothers' Eleon AS, Harry Raudvere's firm Raisner AS and Tootsi Tuulepark OÜ, which was owned by Nelja Energia. In the meantime, Eesti Energia bought Nelja Energia and merged it with its group.

In their rulings, the courts found that RMK had the right to conduct an auction under the conditions set out. The legal proceedings have therefore been completed and the Ministry of the Environment was able to continue with the sale of the property.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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