Finnish energy group Fortum is planning on building a 10-50 million megawatt solar energy park in Luunja Municipality, located east of Tartu, with an investment a corresponding €10-50 million in size.
"We have been doing preparatory work and have signed contracts with consultants — this is a serious plan of ours," Fortum Estonia and Fortum Tartu CEO Margo Kulaots told BNS.
Luunja municipal government has initiated for a detailed plan to be drawn up for the construction of the solar energy park, but according to Kulaots, the acquisition of the necessary land, which is currently owned by the state, remains unresolved.
"Secondly, the land is polluted," he noted. "Currently we do not know if it needs to be fixed or not. At the same time, no humans will be working there. If we look at Germany, for example, where there are a number of solar energy parks, these parks have been built specifically on lands where nothing else could be done, whether it's polluted land or military training areas."
Until it is certain how much land the company will be acquiring, it is not clear how big of a park Fortum could build, the CEO explained. "This is why the whole process is at a peculiar stage — we are doing something but do not exactly know how big that something is," he said, adding that the company hopes to resolve the land issue within the next few weeks.
As the park will only have solar panels, Kulaots estimated that their installation should not be very time-consuming. "If everything goes according to plan, the park should be finished this year at the earlliest," he said.
Should the company acquire a piece of land smaller than anticipated, the plan to build the park could fall through. "Once the land issue is cleared up, we will calculate the cost-effectiveness ourselves and see whether we can move forward," he said.
The company has not looked elsewhere in Estonia for suitable land, however. "If we cannot do it [in Luunja Municipality], we will not do it at all," Kulaots noted. "It won't be the end of the world."
According to the CEO, Fortum is planning on building a solar park of considerable size with a minimum output of 10 megawatts. "The size will range from 10-50 megawatts," he explained. "We will probably not be going below 10 megawatts, but that too is a matter to decide once we have cleared the land issue."
Editor: Aili Vahtla