Vormsi seeks independence

  • 2011-04-27
  • From wire reports

TALLINN - The western Estonian island Vormsi aims to create an energy network to become energy-independent within the next few years, reports ERR. Vormsi’s year-round population totals approximately 200 persons.
As Urmas Pau, Vormsi Rural Municipality Elder, noted, the goal on reaching energy independence will be achieved by creating a tripartite energy network on the island. People will be able to start producing electricity at home using wind turbines or solar panels. In addition, a co-generation plant will be built on the island and an energy association established to operate it. Finally, the cable currently powering the island will be retained.

“We might not be able to fully meet our energy demands on our own. However, in theory, it is possible [...] that at some point, [the cable] will stop providing the island with electricity and people will be able to meet all their energy demands collectively,” suggested Pau.

These plans are to be carried out within the framework of the ‘Smart Vormsi’ project that has received funding from various businesses as well as the state. The aim of the project is to create a model that can later be exported.
Electric cars and mopeds that are to be powered with wind and solar energy will be used for transport on the island. “And even if the grid will end up providing the energy needed, we are still cutting back on our oil consumption,” said Pau.
Internet is the most important public service that will receive a boost, in connection with the ‘Smart Vormsi’ project. According to Pau, the current bad Internet connection is one of the main reasons why only 200 people live on Vormsi throughout the year, despite the fact that 400 have registered as residents of the island.

The faster Internet connection could mean that in the future, Vormsi inhabitants will be able to enjoy live broadcasts of, for instance, concerts taking place in Tallinn or London.

According to Pau, the electronic communication between the local government and the state would also improve and the island would be able to engage the services of a GP who has been actively involved in the development of e-services. Tourism is a main source of income for Vormsi and new solutions will also be developed in this field. “We will definitely have the e-guide service, electronic tourist information points all over the island, and applications for smartphones,” he said.
“That is, you arrive on the island by ferry, rent an electric car at the port, let the e-guide know what kind of vehicle you are using and how much time you have, and it provides you with a route to follow,” Pau explained the vision of the island’s future.