Estonian Offshore Wind Project Moves Forward

The council of the Hiiu municipality in Estonia has approved a cooperation agreement with Nelja Energia and Hiiumaa Offshore Tuulepark, developers of the Loode-Eesti offshore wind project in the Baltic Sea near Hiiumaa Island.

Nelja Energia AS proposes to build a wind farm of 100 to 160 wind turbines with an aggregate capacity of 700 to 1,100 megawatts in the sea to the north of Hiiumaa. The turbines will have a nominal capacity of between 4 and 7 megawatts.

Under the agreement, Nelja Energia and Hiiumaa Offshore Tuulepark commit themselves to make a contribution to the development of the island, its economy and security of electricity supply, the Estonian Wind Power Association said.

“The letter of intent signed three years ago now becomes a binding agreement that will ensure several benefits for Hiiumaa and its residents upon the completion of the wind farm,” Juri Ojasoo, chairman of the council, said.

Ojasoo added that the most important provisions of the agreement for the community are that the wind farm will have a minimal visual footprint and that no turbines will be put up closer than 12 kilometers from the island and on Neupokoyev Bank.

Additionally, visual footprint will be kept under control by the provision of the agreement that if the wind farm is linked up to the transmission grid via Hiiumaa, only submerged cables and underground cables will be used. Regardless of whether the wind farm will be connected to the grid via Hiiumaa or by a link to mainland Estonia, the developer will establish a loop connection with Hiiumaa.

It has also been agreed that the maintenance operations center of the wind farm will be set up in Hiiumaa and training of technicians will take place in Hiiumaa in the future. The service center is expected to create 30 new jobs directly as well as 20 indirect jobs.

The developer and the municipality are about to set up a non-profit association aimed at promoting the economic and social well being of the municipality and improve the availability of the positive effects related to the wind farm through supporting local not-for-profit initiatives. The wind farm will donate to the nonprofit at least 0.2 percent of its revenue from the sale of electricity, but not less than EUR 0.32 per each megawatt-hour of electric energy produced.

In addition, a possibility will be made available to residents of Hiiu municipality to invest in the wind farm through buying preference shares or bonds bearing a fixed annual interest of 15 percent.

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