Black stork nest hampers windfarm development progress

Black Stork in Estonia.
Black Stork in Estonia. Source: Tiit Jürisson

Plans to build a wind farm in southwestern Estonia are being held up after the discovery of a rare Black stork's nest in the vicinity.

The plot of land at Tootsi, about 30 km northeast of Pärnu, cost state-owned energy provider Eesti Energia €51.5 million when they bought the land at auction in February.

While an environmental inspection of the plot was conducted in 2016, no sign of any black storks nests were found at the time, business daily Äripäev reports (link in Estonian).

Black storks are far less common and less human-friendly than their more familiar white counterparts, constituting an estimated 60-90 pairs in Estonia, where they are a protected species. Other pairs have been spotted nesting in the nearby Tootsi bog.

The Environment Board's (Keskonnamet) western region nature preservation expert Maris Pärn says that while the site of the proposed wind farm is outside the storks' nesting area, it is close enough to be of concern, meaning a compromise is likely to be needed.

While the two parties, the board and Eesti Energia have yet to meet to hammer this out.

Constructing the windfarm, which already has the required permission, will cost an estimated €200 million, and work has already started.

The final price tag Eesti Energia paid for the land was around four times the opening asking price. The plot's previous owner was another state body, the state forestry commission (RMK).

Black storks are migratory, spending winters in much lower latitudes in Asia and Africa. Estonia is the limit of the species' northernmost extent in Europe.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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