The Estonian Wind Technology Association, which includes more than 30 companies, submitted a proposal to the government to enter into negotiations in connection with the recent difficulties in the development of wind energy in Estonia. A number of court cases and other problems have far-reaching consequences for the country’s economy, security, and the environment, the association says.
The currently four wind farm developments in Ida-Viru County alone at 648 MW, once completed, will have more than twice the capacity of the new Auvere shale oil power plant’s 300 MW. At the same time, wind energy could provide a future for all those workers in the energy sector currently facing layoffs because of the shrinking oil shale industry, and get Estonia a good deal closer to its 25-percent renewable energy goal, to be reached by 2030, the association argues.
Hans Teiv, head of the association, said that the suspension of work at Aidu wind farm that attracted a lot of public attention has overshadowed the fact that the problem is actually widespread, and that the brake has been pulled for all wind farm developments backed by private entrepreneurs.
“Estonia has an extraordinary window of opportunity to achieve its renewable energy goals and offer a new and cleaner future for oil shale energy workers facing layoffs, but somehow it seems an invisible hand is holding this process back,” Teiv said
The main obstacle to the development of new wind farms is a regulation by the Ministry of Defence that bans the erection, extension, or conversion of structures within a set zone that could potentially hamper radar.
The regulation has been in force since April 2016 and proven to be a major problem for wind energy. “No other country has such a regulation, created without any social discussion or impact analysis and with a narrow institutional perspective, that blocks an entire industry,” the association’s proposal reads.
Though they stress that national security certainly is a priority, “There are more effective ways to achieve it than a four-page regulation created in the silence of an office and that excludes any construction work that falls within the activity radius of any radar,” the association further writes.
The association also points out that it has signed a letter of intent with the trade unions of Ida-Viru County’s energy sector, outlining the real possibility to start with the production of multi-megawatt wind turbines in Ida-Virumaa already in the fall of this year, which could gradually provide competitive jobs in the energy sector in the area again.