TALLINN - The preliminary findings of a newly completed spatial analysis of the Hiiu marine area show that there are suitable places in the waters off Hiiumaa for the construction of wind farms, specifically, to the south and west of Estonia's second largest island.
Minister of Public Administration Riina Solman said the spatial analysis of the Hiiu marine area was initiated with a view to finding out whether it is basically possible to plan wind farms for the sea area off Hiiumaa.
"The government needs to consider every possibility to meet the national renewable energy targets, and developers are also very interested in the Hiiu marine area," the minister said in a press release.
The potential locations for offshore wind farms are not limited to the Hiiu county marine area, but the area examined was expanded to include the Estonian exclusive economic zone. According to the spatial analysis, the two most suitable locations for the development of wind energy projects are an area of 137 square kilometers on the southern fringes of the Hiiu marine area and an area of 745 square kilometers to the west of the island.
"The larger area is located on the other side of the international shipping lane on the fringes of Estonia's exclusive economic zone and may be suitable for floating wind turbines," Lembe Reiman, advisor to the spatial planning department of the Ministry of Finance, said. "This is an innovative technology that could in the future provide the opportunity to build wind farms in deep water," she added.
The analysis builds on existing data, taking into account the natural, technical, economic and other factors relevant to the country's development. For example, nature reserves, mineral deposits, bird migration routes, locations of wrecks, and information on the use of the marine area -- shipping lanes, trawling, fishing, and anchoring and dumping areas -- are considered.
The adviser noted that the already submitted applications for superficies licenses pose a problem.
"In the Hiiu marine area, their resolving may be difficult, as the requested sites are mostly located in bird-sensitive areas, which, according to the results of the analysis, rather are unsuitable for the development of wind farms. There is also some overlap in these areas with the most important trawl sites," Reiman added.
The analysis is an input for the state to decide whether to initiate a plan for the development of wind energy in the Hiiu marine area.
The analysis can be found on the website planeerimine.ee. The work was commissioned by the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications, and was carried out by AB Artes Terrae OU.