The governments of Estonia and Latvia have selected the locations in their respective parts of the Baltic Sea where their joint offshore wind energy project – ELWIND – will be built. On the Estonian part, the marine area to the west of the peninsula of Sorve of Saaremaa Island has been recognized as the most suitable location for implementing the joint project. This means that Latvia can start work on the environmental impact assessment in the coastal area of Kurzeme between Pāvilosta and Užava, where a wind farm is planned to be built approximately 15 to 20 km from the coastline in the sea.
"ELWIND is a unique international project that will contribute to the development of the entire region. Latvia and Estonia have undertaken all the necessary preliminary work to auction off the prepared offshore wind farm territories to potential developers. The ELWIND project will increase the security of the energy supply, bring Latvia closer to achieving the EU Climate goals, as well as promote the attraction of investments and the use of the sea's potential for the development of innovations. These are long-term investments for a safer future," emphasizes Laura Štrovalde, Deputy Director of the Investment and Development Agency of Latvia (LIAA).
During the preliminary study for selecting the location, commissioned jointly by the two countries, various marine areas were examined. Based on research and analysis, the territory on the coast of Kurzeme and the marine area near the island of Saaremaa was recognized as the most suitable development area for the implementation of the joint project.
”Estonian offshore wind energy is an untapped potential both in the context of the green revolution, more reasonable energy prices, and our energy security. Therefore, we are happy that after thorough analyses, we have again taken a step forward regarding establishing the Estonian-Latvian offshore wind farm and have selected a suitable location. During the preliminary study of the location selection of the offshore wind farm ordered in cooperation with the neighboring countries, various sea areas were analyzed in order to find the most suitable area for establishing a wind farm in the sea area of Estonia and Latvia. The sea area to the west of Sørve’s leg turned out to be suitable because there are better wind and ice conditions compared to other areas, in addition, this area is away from the known flight paths of migratory birds, the habitats of seals and other aquatic life” said Estonia’s Minister of Economy and Infrastructure Riina Sikkut.
ELWIND has been listed on the first list of renewable energy cross-border (CB RES) projects under the EU Connecting Europe Facility (CEF), which enables to apply up to 50% funding for studies helping to keep impact to the end consumers at a reasonable level.
The time plan for the Elwind project foresees that environmental impact assessments and all necessary construction permits will be arranged by 2025, but in 2026 it is planned to organize auctions for merchants who want to get involved in the implementation of the project. The deadline for completion of the project is planned for 2030.
A wind farm of this scale, with a total capacity between 700 and 1000 MW, can be a significant promoter of the region's development. The average operating time of one wind farm is approximately 25 to 30 years, which will provide residents with additional jobs in the maintenance of wind farms, provide greater available electricity capacity, and contribute to the development of port potential. It will also provide additional opportunities for business development.
ELWIND is being implemented by the Ministry of Economics of Latvia, the Investment and Development Agency of Latvia (LIAA), the Latvian grid operator Augstsprieguma tīkls (AST), the Estonian Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications and the Environmental Investment Centre.
More information on the Latvian and Estonian offshore wind farm project is available on the ELWIND website https://elwindoffshore.eu/lv/.