TALLINN - The Estonian-Latvian offshore wind farm project ELWIND is progressing rapidly and has reached to a notable milestone, as a public procurement for a pre-feasibility study aimed to preselect suitable geographical areas for the wind farm has been successfully completed, the Estonian Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications said in a press release.
The joint procurement to choose a suitable contractor for conducting the pre-feasibility study of the offshore areas which are available for developing the regionally integrated wind farm has been concluded ahead of schedule. The results of the assessment should become available before the end of this year. As a result, it is possible that the decision on selecting specific areas for further development may be adopted in early 2022.
Minister of Economic Affairs and Infrastructure Taavi Aas said that the two neighbors have joined forces with the goal of achieving sustainable, affordable and stable energy production.
"We are in the beginning of a long and challenging journey where two good neighbors are efficiently combining their expertise, resources and commitment in order to improve cross-border connectivity and to enhance security of the supply for the Baltics. Furthermore, it is undoubtedly another important step to achieve the goals of European green policy," the Estonian minister said.
Latvian Economics Minister Janis Vitenbergs described the development of renewables-founded production capacities as being of utmost importance for the entire Baltic region.
"Considering the current state of global energy markets as well as the upward trend observed in the trajectory of fossil energy source prices, wind-based electricity generation is a vital instrument of ensuring sufficient and stable supply of clean, cheap and carbon-neutral power. We are proud of the magnitude and depth of the cooperation which aim is to create a better future for Latvians and Estonians," he said.
The pre-feasibility study will be carried out by Estonian company Hendrikson & KO and Dutch company Pondera Consult. The parties are to assess and model pre-selected development areas for offshore wind park technical capacity installation and submit a proposal for the best location of ELWIND wind farms. The aim is to assess several locations of approximately 200 square kilometers each, assuming a power density of 5-7 megawatts per square kilometer 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.
In 2020, ministers Janis Vitenbergs and Taavi Aas signed a memorandum of understanding that foresees the completion of the project by 2030. The offshore wind energy farm with a planned total capacity of 700-1,000 megawatts is envisaged to provide over 3 terawatt-hours of renewables-based energy per year, which equals up to 20 percent of the two countries' current electricity consumption combined.
Estonia and Latvia are planning to apply for co-financing for the construction of the grid from the Connecting Europe Facility of Renewable Energy (CEF RES) funds, as the ELWIND project involves two countries and could qualify as a regional status project.
The project is led by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications of Estonia, the Ministry of Economics of Latvia, the Environmental Investment Center of Estonia (KIK) and the Investment and Development Agency of Latvia (LIAA).