State-owned electricity generator Eesti Energia is taking grid distributor Elering to court over a decision to discontinue a support scheme for a planned Pärnu County wind farm. At stake is whether a wind farm which is not yet completed and operating should receive the level of support Tootsi had been getting.
Elering, which makes decisions on support levels, says that as of the end of 2016, the wind farm had not yet met the conditions for receiving the support.
Wind farms that were founded before 2017 can receive support of €53.7 per MWh based on the market price paid for by consumers.
Elering spokesperson Ain Köster said: "Eesti Energia had not started construction work on the Tootsi wind farm investment project within the meaning of the Electricity Market Act, has not made a firm commitment to order equipment for the construction of the production facility, nor has it made any other commitment that would make the Tootsi wind farm investment project irreversible."
As reported on ERR News, Elering opted in late 2020 for the Enefit Green owned Tootsi wind farm to stop receiving support according to the so-called "older" scheme. Eesti Energia board chair Hando Sutter said at the time that the company would recourse to legal action.
While Elering says it cannot put a figure on the support Eesti Energia would be due, were it to be granted, this is estimated at over €100 million, ERR reports.
Ain Köster says Elering feels confident that it has made the right decision.
Köster said: "In the past, large wind farms have received a decision to receive support when a park is completed. This is the first time that Tootsi, the developer of a large park, has asked for a decision on a non-completed wind farm."
Eesti Energia asked for a decision last summer, Köster added.
Eesti Energia spokesperson Priit Luts said his firm disputed the Elering decision, hence the decision to go to the second-tier Tallinn Administrative Court; waiting for a decision will hold up the development, he said, which otherwise has all the necessary documentation.
Tootsi was only transferred to Eesti Energia's renewables subsidiary, Enefit Green, last summer; Eesti Energia bought the 160-hectare plot, already earmarked for a wind farm in planning documentation, at auction in February 2020, paying the (state-owned) forestry commission RMK €51.5 million for it. The opening price had been €12 million.
Editor: Andrew Whyte