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Estonia and Latvia Ramping Up Work on Joint 1 GW Offshore Wind Project

A decision on selecting specific areas for further development within the Elwind offshore project could be adopted in early 2022, according to the Ministry of Economic of Latvia, which announced on 8 September that Hendrikson & KO and Pondera Consult were awarded a contract for a pre-feasibility study.

Siemens Gamesa/Illustration

The pre-feasibility study will assess the pre-selected development areas and submit a proposal for the best location to build the Elwind offshore wind farms. Hendrikson & KO and Pondera Consulting will evaluate several locations of approximately 200 km2 each, assuming a power density of 5-7 MW/km2 for the development of offshore wind parks in the Baltic Sea within Estonian and Latvian exclusive economic zones, based on the assessment of a set of ecological, sustainability, economic and technical criteria.

Results of the assessment should become available before the end of the year, thus the decision on selecting specific areas for further development may be adopted in early 2022.

Meanwhile, the two countries’ transmission system operators (TSOs) are working on identifying the best offshore and onshore routes and grid solution. Estonia’s TSO Elering recently reported that survey work on Elwind’s potential onshore cable routes was starting after Skepast&Puhkim OÜ won the procurement for the work, which will be completed this year. Elering has also revealed its plans for a large offshore grid connection project in the Baltic Sea, for which Elwind would be the first step.

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Latvia and Estonia started discussions for a joint offshore wind project in 2019. Last year, the countries’ governments signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to develop the 1 GW offshore wind project in the Gulf of Riga.

The offshore wind farm, which is expected to be commissioned by 2030, will produce approximately 3.5 TWh of electricity per year, or approximately 40 per cent of Estonia’s annual electricity consumption.