Ministry refuses to extend offshore wind turbines buffer zone
The Association of Estonian Cities and Rural Municipalities (ELVL) has proposed increasing the visual buffer zone of offshore wind turbines from the current 11.1 kilometers to at least 15 kilometers. Officials describe the plan as costly and counterproductive in terms of the green turn.
The proposal aims to have the 15-kilometer buffer defined in the national plan which county sea area plans have to take into account. The association pointed to the 2015 Pärnu County sea area plan failing to consider the Häädemeeste municipality council that only agreed to the wind farm if it lied at least 15 kilometers from the shoreline.
The Ministry of Finance forwarded the association's proposal to the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications (MKM) that does not agree.
"The possibilities and limitations of sea use have been thoroughly analyzed in the Estonian sea area plan. Only 4.5 percent of Estonia's sea area is suitable for offshore wind farms. Agreeing to the proposal would reduce that area further," Jaanus Uiga from the ministry's energy department said.
"Considering the fact that not all areas deemed suitable in plans might be able to physically host wind farms, the risk of Estonia failing to meet its climate neutral energy production, renewable energy and supply security targets might be created," Uiga wrote in the ministry's memo.
Timo Tatar, MKM deputy secretary general in charge of energy and natural resources, also pointed to the cost of the association's proposal. "An offshore wind farm is visible from the coast whether it lies 11 or 15 kilometers away, while other effects, such as noise, do not reach the shoreline anyway," Tatar said. "Moving the turbines into deeper water would render offshore wind power more expensive – the need for longer cables and growing tech price. This would in turn impact Estonia as an investment environment," he said.
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Editor: Marcus Turovski