Close to 30 wind farm construction applications have been submitted in respect of the areas of the national marine area plan, while in the case of overlapping zones, the state plans to hold an auction – since in some areas there are up to five competing applications for the one contract.
Liina Roosimägi, head of the construction activity law department of the Consumer Protection and Technical Regulatory Authority (TTJA) said: "Two construction permit procedures have already been initiated for the Pärnu maritime spatial planning areas, while two competing applications (from Eesti Energia and Utilitas - ed.) are in process. One application for a construction permit has also been submitted for the Hiiumaa vicinity."
"Two of the building permit procedures for the construction of wind farms have been initiated for the areas within the national marine area plan, while one building permit procedure has been initiated for the construction of one wind turbine," she went on.
"In addition, another 26 wind farm building permit applications have been submitted and which are still waiting to be processed," Roosimägi continued, adding that these are all at different stages.
The greatest number of applications have been submitted for the construction of wind farms in the Gulf of Riga area and the Sõrve peninsula, the southernmost tip of the island of Saaremaa.
Up to five competing offers have been submitted for some areas, for instance one zone in the Gulf of Riga from Lithuanian firm UAB "Ignitis Renewables", European Energia Estonia OÜ (two applications) and Utilitas (two applications) have all applied to build a wind farm. Similarly, there are areas with five applications near Sõrve penisula.
This will necessitate auctions, but Roosimägi could not yet state the exact date when these will go ahead.
She said: "The first one could be presumed to be expected in the first half of 2023. At present, the regulation, which lays down the principles according to which the selection will be made, is at public consultation stage. After the regulation is established, these applications can be compared and auctions can be set up."
Applications for development permits for the construction of wind farms or turbines have been submitted by both Estonian and foreign companies. The list includes companies such as Eesti Energia AS, Utilitas Wind OÜ, Sunly Wind OÜ, Ohaka Energia OÜ, Saare Wind Energy OÜ, Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners, RWE Renewables Estonia OÜ, Aker Offshore Wind Europe GmbH, European Energia Estonia OÜ ja UAB Ignitis Renewables.
The auction will be organized once the TTJA has published an official notice regarding the planning to start the building permit procedure and once a competing application for the same area has been submitted within a 60-day period.
The TTJA then evaluates competing applications in accordance with regulations. If the applications meet the evaluation conditions and provided the applicant has no outstanding tax debt demonstrates the economic ability to implement the activity as planned, then the TTJA initiates an auction between competing applicants.
The auction price depends on the size of the area in question. In the case of a marine wind farm, the starting price would be €25,000 per sq. km, and in the case of other buildings, €12,500 per sq. km.
For instance, the initial price for a 1,000-megawatt offshore wind farm covering approximately 200 square kilometers would be €5 million.
Last week, minister of Economic Affairs Riina Sikkut sent a draft decree to the ministries for approval that establishes a framework for auctions of offshore wind farm building licenses
Editor: Andrew Whyte