TALLINN – The Estonian government on Thursday initiated a national designated spatial plan for the power grid connections of the Gulf of Riga offshore wind farm and decided on commissioning a strategic environmental impact assessment.
The spatial plan envisages connections from the Gulf of Riga offshore wind farm to the onshore grid in one or more locations. The area covered by the plan is more than 5,400 square kilometers, information made available by the government's communication office says.
The location of the offshore wind farm has been previously set forth in the Parnu sea area spatial plan. The wind farm is planned to have a capacity of up to 1,000 megawatts and consist of 50-100 wind turbines depending on the height of the turbines and other technical parameters.
In the Estonian maritime area, the spatial plan will cover the Gulf of Riga and Parnu Bay and, of onshore areas, the Haademeeste, Tori, Kihnu and Saarde municipalities in Parnu County, as well as the city of Parnu. The expected time for preparing the spatial plan is six years and the planning process is public -- anyone can participate and submit proposals if they wish.
"One of the government's biggest tasks and priorities is to help solve today's energy crisis," Minister of Public Administration Riina Solman said in a press release, stressing that the coalition agreement stipulates that by 2030, Estonia will produce as much renewable energy as it consumes.
According to the minister, the price of electricity for consumers today depends on the price level of the Nord Pool market area, so each addition to renewable energy generating capacity will be helpful.
"As wind and solar continue to be the cheapest and most environmentally friendly ways to generate energy, new offshore wind farms will enable us to meet national climate and energy policy goals and increase the security of supply of electricity and our energy security," the minister said.
Of the existing offshore wind projects in Estonia at the moment, the development of the Gulf of Riga offshore farm has advanced the farthest -- the superficies license procedure is underway, the area has a valid offshore wind energy plan and an approved environmental impact assessment program.
From the substations of the offshore wind farm, submarine cables will run to the shore, and from there on as underground cables up to onshore substations. Further electricity connectivity to the substations of the transmission network will be made either in the form of underground cables or overhead lines, depending on which location of the routes is chosen and what the environmental impacts and economic feasibility will be.
The national designated spatial plan was initiated at the request of the state-owned energy group Eesti Energia, which will bear the costs of the preparation of the plan, including the costs related to the strategic environmental assessment. The estimated time for the preparation of the plan is six years.
The preparation of the national designated spatial plan and the strategic environmental impact assessment will be organized by the Ministry of Finance.