Eesti Energia to contest Risti wind farm cessation decision

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Protest meeting against Risti wind farm. Source: Juhan Hepner/ERR

National energy company Eesti Energia will challenge Lääne-Nigula rural municipality council's Thursday decision to stop preparation work for the Risti wind farm, local paper Lääne Elu reports.

Thirteen members of the council voted for and five against terminating the special plan for the Risti wind farm on Thursday. The council held an open vote. Several opponents of the wind farm project could not be present for the session as they had previously attended an event where a person diagnosed with COVID-19 was present.

CEO of Eesti Energia subsidiary Enefit Green Aavo Kärmas said after the vote that he will challenge the decision inside 30 days or turn straight to administrative court. "We have not heard a single argument to be taken seriously in terms of why the plan should be terminated," Kärmas said.

"We are happy that the hurried special plan was terminated," said Lea Lai, head of the Piirsalu village society. The Lääne-Nigula rural municipality government stands ready to go to court as the council's decision was prepared with help from lawyers Siim Vahtrus and Piret Kergandberg from law firm Walless.

Eesti Energia has bought 240 hectares of land between Risti-Piirsalu and Seljaküla where it wants to construct a wind farm of 30 turbines. The investment volume is estimated at around €150 million. The Lääne-Nigula rural municipality council initiated the special plan in September of 2019. The project's strategic environmental impact assessment is currently underway.

The termination of the plan was proposed by Rural Municipality Mayor Mikk Lõhmus and council chairman Neeme Suur (Social Democratic Party). Lääne Elu's sources suggest they drew inspiration from Lea Lai and former Risti Rural Municipality Mayor Rein Kruusmaa's petition. The signatures totaled roughly 1,100. The Lääne-Nigula government reckons that around 660 were given by local residents and the rest by people from elsewhere. Because the special plan's survey area covers some 2,500 hectares, opponents of the project got signatures by claiming that all wooden areas would be clearcut, Lääne Elu writes. Eesti Energia said that only about 80 hectares of forest would be cleared.

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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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