World’s biggest oil shale to energy company Eesti Energia is interested in build a wind farm in Paikuse rural municipality district, about 20 kilometres from the city of Pärnu, in southwestern Estonia.
“In addition to the application for a designated spatial plan submitted to the city of Pärnu, applications for building a wind farm have also been submitted to Lääne-Nigula rural municipality in Lääne county and to Saarde rural municipality in Pärnu county,” announced Aavo Kärmas, Chairman of the Managing Board of Enefit Green, the green department of Eesti Energia. “If even part of these wind farm projects is implemented, it will be a very important breakthrough and change of direction towards producing green energy in Estonia.”
Building wind farms has not gone easily in Estonia so far.
“Despite the climate policy requiring cleaner energy production, the last major wind farms here were completed more than seven years ago,” admitted Mr Kärmas. “If Estonia as a country wants to reach our own future renewable energy goals, the building of new wind farms is inevitable.”
According to the initial plans, the wind farm is aimed to be built in Paikuse rural municipality district, near Põlendmaa, at a distance of at least a kilometre from the nearest residential house.
“We understand that the building of the wind farm requires the support of local residents, and we are open to constantly share information about the project and answer all questions,” said Mr Kärmas. “During the initial steps of the development, we have worked closely together with the local government and have already met with the local communities. The response so far has been encouraging. It is also positive that people understand the positive effect of the wind farm on the local economy and labour market.”
If the city of Pärnu approves the application for a designated spatial plan, as a next step, a strategic environmental assessment is expected to be conducted, during which it will be ascertained, whether the area includes protected species, and whether the wind farm and its infrastructure have an effect on the natural environment and the habitat. The studies are expected to last for about three years, during which the local residents will also be included repeatedly. Based on the results of the studies, it will become clear whether and on which conditions it is possible to establish a wind farm to that area.
Eesti Energia group has set the goal to reduce electricity production by direct burning of oil shale and increase the share of cleaner and more environmentally friendly renewable energy in its product portfolio. The group aims to produce 45 per cent of its electricity production from renewable and alternative sources by 2023. This also aligns with the goal of the Estonian state to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from energy production.