Estonian climate minister to streamline offshore wind farm permit procedure

Aidu Wind Farm.
Aidu Wind Farm. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

Estonian Minister of Climate Kristen Michal (Reform) has sent a draft bill for approval, which will merge the applications for permits for the production of renewable energy. The bill will expediate the issuing of permits for offshore wind farms.

To set up an offshore wind farm in Estonia, it is currently necessary to apply for three separate permits. The draft bill, which has now been sent for approval, will establish a separate procedure for the construction of offshore wind farms, whereby all three permits are combined.

"This will make the process more controllable and significantly reduce bureaucracy," said Michal.

According to Michal, the proposed changes will save time and cut down on the required workload for all parties involved. "Applicants will no longer have to submit separate applications multiple times, as the whole process will be completed in one go in the Building Register. The transparency of the procedure will also increase, as the status of the application and the comments on the building permit will be visible to all parties throughout the process."

The ministry also plans to streamline the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) procedure for renewable energy installations and other projects. The requesting of comments on EIA materials, and making the information public, which under the current system are separate, will be merged. The requirement for approval of the EIA report will also be removed, reducing the overall length of the procedure by four months.

A fast-track system will be introduced for rapid environmental assessment of projects, which involve upgrading existing renewable energy installations, allowing necessary permits to be issued within six months. In cases where upgrades do not exceed 15 percent of a facility's current capacity, the process will take three months. Up to now, the procedures for upgrading have tended to last over a year.


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Editor: Michael Cole

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