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Scientists present environmental impact of Liivi wind farm to local residents

Estonian energy company Enefit Green organised the “Liivi offshore wind farm environmental study information days” last week (17-18 April) in Kihnu and Häädemeeste, during which scientists from various fields presented the environmental impact of the Liivi wind farm to local residents.

“Scientists have carried out thorough environmental studies, providing valuable insights for us, the developers, and for the locals, who understandably have many questions about the impacts of the offshore wind farm,” said Karmo Kõrvek, Development Manager of Offshore Wind Power at Enefit Green. “It is crucial for us to know that the offshore wind farm will not have a significant negative environmental impact. Moreover, we can already prevent even the smallest impacts during the planning stage of the wind farm, ensuring that the environment remains protected and the community is satisfied.”

To date, most of the 23 studies have already been completed, while a few are still in their final stages. “In summary, it is possible to construct the Liivi offshore wind farm by implementing certain mitigation measures,” said Jüri Hion, the environmental expert at the environmental studies company Skepast & Puhkim.

The studies also revealed that two shipwrecks of heritage protection significance have been discovered in the Gulf of Riga, and wind turbines must be planned within their 300-metre protection zones. To protect the well-being of seals, mitigation measures must be taken during the construction of the wind farm to avoid or reduce strong impulse noise that may accompany the laying of foundations. Regarding bats, it is necessary to limit the operation of turbines on windless nights during their crucial migration period from 1 August to 15 September.

“We organised the information days with the aim of sharing the results of the studies with local governments and communities as early as possible, so that they are informed and can provide feedback necessary for the final report. The final environmental impact assessment report is scheduled for completion in autumn, and we will then conduct public consultations,” said Mr Kõrvek.

Enefit Green plans to build an offshore wind farm in the Gulf of Riga with a capacity of up to 1,000 megawatts, which would cover half of Estonia’s annual electricity consumption. Depending on the wind turbine height and other technical parameters, the wind farm would consist of 50 to 84 turbines, capable of producing around four terawatt-hours of green electricity.

The proposed location for the offshore wind farm is the Gulf of Riga, 11 kilometres from Kihnu Island and 16 kilometres from Häädemeeste. The expected construction period for the offshore wind farm is from 2028 to 2030.

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