Latvia Rejects Ørsted’s Offshore Wind Application

The Latvian government has rejected the application by Ørsted for an area in Latvian waters for the potential development of offshore wind, citing the need to find a suitable location for ELWIND, a joint national development between Latvia and Estonia, as the reason for the rejection.

Last year, Ørsted signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Enefit, part of the Estonian Eesti Energia Group, to jointly develop large-scale offshore wind projects in the Baltic countries.

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Under the MoU with Enefit, the two parties also agreed to jointly move towards delivering the first offshore wind farm in the Gulf of Riga in the Baltic Sea before 2030, subject to a supportive regulatory framework being in place.

As part of the MoU, Eesti Energia and Ørsted intend to establish a joint venture for the development of offshore wind opportunities in the Baltic countries, including the Liivi offshore wind project in the Gulf of Riga. 

“The Latvian Ministry of Economics and State Chancellery has decided to decline Ørsted’s application for a site in Latvian waters, while the Ministry considers the possible location of the announced ELWIND project. The application may be re-opened, subject to the outcome of the ELWIND site selection process. Ørsted remains committed to developing offshore wind in the Baltics and to our partnership with Enefit in the region,” said Peter Obling, Ørsted Head of Markets & Commercial, Continental Europe.

Eesti Energia said that Enefit will continue to develop the Liivi offshore wind farm in Estonia.

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”The Liivi offshore wind farm is currently the only offshore wind development which has the potential to be completed by 2028,” said Hando Sutter, CEO of Enefit.

”The current EIA process will be completed by 2023. The intention of Enefit will be to be ready for the investment decision by 2025.”

Sutter also confirmed that both Enefit and Ørsted are committed to developing offshore wind in the Baltic states and indicated that the work on analyzing potential projects continues.

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

The two countries’ transmission system operators (TSOs), Elering and AST, joined forces again in 2021 to identify the best offshore and onshore routes and grid solutions. That same year, Elering also revealed its plans for a large offshore grid connection in the Baltic Sea, for which ELWIND would be the first step.

In September 2021, the Ministry of Economics of Latvia announced that a decision on selecting specific areas for further development within the ELWIND offshore wind project could be adopted in early 2022.

The project, 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.

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Photo: Illustration; Borkum Riffgrund 2 offshore wind farm in Germany; Photo source: Ørsted