The first offshore wind farms are likely to be up and running off Estonia's Baltic coastline no earlier than 2028, the Consumer Protection and Technical Regulatory Authority (TTJA) says.
TTJA construction and rail department head Kati Tamtik told ERR that proceedings will take several years, meaning no offshore wind farms will be erected before 2028.
She said: "This is particularly since an impact assessment study is carried out during the building permit procedure – this takes a few years to carry out … following which a building permit can be issued. After that, the developer can start designing and applying for a building permit."
Since there will be competing applications, the state will have to choose between developers, or an auction may also be held.
Tamtik added that local residents near a planned wind farm's area will have a say in the building process, particularly with regard to environmental impact assessments, while local government will also be involved in the process.
The long-awaited maritime spatial plan will give the TTJA the opportunity to carry out the processing of applications, following the plan's establishment last week.
There are currently 20 pending applications which have been submitted to the TTJA; state owned firm electricity generator Eesti Energia and private sector district heating producer Utilitas have now started designing their offshore wind farms in the Gulf of Riga, while Saare Wind, another private sector firm founded in 2014, is carrying out the same on the west coast of Saaremaa, Estonia's largest island.
Terje Talv, CEO of the Estonian Wind Energy Association, noted the shee potetntial capacity offshore wind farms.
"Estonia has estimated the potential from its maritime area to generate 7.3 Gwh [from wind power]," adding that this was greater than Estonia's consumption, though certainly less than figures put forward by some of the would-be tender winners.
Another developer, Neugrund OÜ, says it will be taking the government to court over the rejection of a permit to erect a wind farm off the northwest coast, close to the island of Osmussaar. The government says that the development's turbines will interfere with the functioning of defense ministry radar, an argument also put forward with reference to some land-based wind farm developments.
Editor: Andrew Whyte