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Enefit Green may invest up to €150 million in Finnish wind farm

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Enefit Green, the renewable energy subsidiary of the Estonian state-owned energy group Eesti Energia, signed an agreement with the Finnish state-owned Metsähallitus that grants the Estonian company the opportunity to develop a wind farm in Tolpanvaara, North Ostrobothnia, for an investment of €100-150 million.

According to Aavo Kärmas, CEO of Enefit Green, the business is constantly seeking opportunities to grow its renewable energy portfolio in the Baltic Sea countries where Eesti Energia, known as Enefit Group internationally, is already operating. This March, Enefit Group began selling electricity to household customers on the Finnish market, but the goal is to begin producing renewable energy in Finland too, according to a company press release.

"One of the opportunities we see is the development of the Tolpanvaara wind farm," Kärmas explained. "According to the agreement, Enefit Green will invest in the Tolpanvaara development project, when the Partial Master Plan is successfully approved in the next year and a half. When Enefit Green reaches the wind farm investment decision, the potential investment will be in the range of €100-150 million.

"Metsähallitus is internationally known for its wind power projects," said Tuomas Hallenberg, director of Metsähallitus' Property Development Unit. "We are very happy to have found a company that is ready to implement our project."

The planned wind farm is located in a relatively remote place with good wind conditions, in a forest area that belongs to the Finnish company. The precise cost and capacity of the wind farm will become clear after the procurements have been carried out, but the expected capacity is approximately 100 MW.

"Metsähallitus wants to be a vanguard of responsible activities and to promote the achievement of the government's climate and energy goals," said Hallenberg. "There are currently 91 wind power stations operating on Finland's state-owned land, and the energy that they produce corresponds to the power consumption of roughly 45,000 electrically heated houses. Tolpanvaara would be a good addition to this."

Finnish state-owned Metsähallitus is tasked with setting aside and refining state-owned areas under its control to make them suitable for wind power activities. Metsähallitus grants the right to build wind power plants on the basis of reservation and right of use agreements; the company itself does not own the power plants.

Estonian association: Enefit should invest in Estonia instead

Although association director Rene Tammist acknowledged that it is currently somewhat complicated to invest in renewable energy in Estonia, according to the Estonian Renewable Energy Association (EREA), instead of investing €100-150 million in a wind farm in Finland, Enefit Green should invest in Estonia instead.

"Actually, Enefit Green should invest in Estonia," Tammist told BNS. "There are great wind conditions in Estonia too, as well as potential places where to develop."

He admitted, however, that Estonia has been unable to create a suitable investment environment. "I mainly mean that it hasn't been said when underbidding on renewable energy subsidies could take place," he explained. "Until there is clarity regarding that, developing wind energy and renewable energy is at a standstill."

According to the association, the state should announce the timetables of underbiddings for the next three to five years as well as other conditions connected to qualifying, amounts and technologies. According to Tammist, this would lead to investment security.

Editor: Aili Vahtla

Source: ERR; BNS

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