Solution needed in private sector wind farm stalemate, says prime minister

Wind turbines (picture is illustrative).
Wind turbines (picture is illustrative). Source: Postimees/Scanpix

Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Centre) has noted that in the case of the ongoing dispute surrounding the proposed Aidu wind farm, national security is of paramount importance. At the same time, Mr Ratas said, cooperation between the state and the private sector could be improved.

The proposed wind farm, at Aidu, in the Maidla municipality in Ida-Viru County, has seen a long-running saga of opposition to it and its developers, brothers Andres and Oleg Sõnajalg, and at least two government ministries which have opposed its construction.

While work started on the project in 2013, when the government was made up of the Reform and Isamaa (then called IRL) parties, under Andrus Ansip, progress has been persistently held up, on the issue of permissions, and concerns from both the Ministry of Defence, and the environment ministry.

Following the Sõnajalg brothers latest refusal to comply with an order to halt construction work, the Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) on Friday declared ther wind farm's territory off-limits.

''I undoubtedly believe the security of the state is a joint effort and the task of all the agencies,'' Mr Ratas, whose new coalition government was signed into being by President Kersti Kaljulaid on Wednesday, said.

Law has changed since development started

''We have changed certain laws over the last years which alters the status of various aspects of the case and I am absolutely convinced that this must be taken into account," Mr Ratas said at the regular weekly government press conference on Thursday.

One issue that caused the defence ministry concern was that the wind turbines might affect the operation of ministry radar, it is reported.

''We do after all want more of these type of wind farms, and sometimes there may be a solution for additional investment from the private sector,'' he continued.

''Whether the private sector is ready or not is naturally its own matter. There is no need to complicate things, but rather a need to take a step further,'' he added.

''At the same time we must move forward to clear the obvious impasse in the development,'' he went on.

A private company which had already constructed wind turbines, Nelja Energia, was acquired by the Enefit Green renewables arm of state electricity provider Eesti Energia, last summer.

''I think the solutiuon at the moment is that in the course of this halting of construction, we have to work things out step-by-step going forward,'' he added.

''There is certainly no way we can compromise our national defence by having wind turbines which interfere with radar, however,'' he added.

Compromise could nevertheless be in the air, he noted.

"To my knowledge, tests to see the dimensions and heights beyond which turbines do cause such interference could be carried out. I think this could be done better by both sides,'' Mr Ratas continued.

Editor: Andrew Whyte

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