Estonia’s Giant Offshore Wind Project Wins Court Battles

The Tallinn Circuit Court has rejected an appeal filed by opponents of an up to 1.1GW offshore wind farm planned to be installed in Estonian Baltic Sea waters, thus upholding the decision from a first tier court made earlier this year, according to the Baltic News Service. 

The opponents of the project proposed off the Hiiumaa island were reportedly challenging the order of the Hiiu county governor from 2015, which endorsed the plan determining the areas suitable for the development of wind energy in Hiiu county. Following the ruling of the administrative court, an appeal was submitted to the appellate court in Tallinn, which found the administrative court’s decision to be adequately made with regard to all of the arguments brought forward by the opponents.

The legal action was based on the grounds of visual impact and nature conservation.

The Hiiumaa offshore wind farm, also known as Loode-Eesti wind farm, will comprise between 100 and 160 wind turbines with a nominal capacity of between 4MW and 7MW each, leading to the total project capacity of between 700MW and to 1,100MW. The construction of the offshore wind farm in the Baltic Sea is expected to start in the second half of 2018, with the commissioning anticipated for 2020.

The developer of the offshore wind farm is Hiiumaa Offshore Tuulepark, an offshore wind project company set up by Nelja Energia.

In August, the developer Nelja Energia and the Hiiu municipality on the Hiiumaa Island signed a cooperation agreement to build the project, which would be Estonia’s first offshore wind farm. Under the agreement with the municipality, announced in June, the developer vowed that the wind farm will have a minimal visual footprint with no turbines to be installed closer than 12 kilometers from the Hiiumaa island and on Neupokoyev Bank.

The exact placement of the turbines depends on the National Maritime Spatial Plan (approved in June, 2016) and Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). The wind farm is planned to be connected with the Estonian transmission grid through the Kanapeeksi substation in Hiiumaa island.

Photo: Image source: Hiiumaa Offshore Tuulepark