The Latvia-Estonia cross-border offshore wind project ELWIND has received approval for EUR 18.7 million in co-funding from the European Climate, Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency CINEA.

The funding for the research needed to develop the project has been granted under the European Union funding programme Connecting Europe Facility. The co-funding will enable high-quality research to determine the environmental impact of the Latvian-Estonian ELWIND offshore wind park sites and to plan the transmission network cross-border connections and connections between the wind park and the onshore transmission lines.

The co-funding granted will cover half of the total estimated costs. The Latvian research part of the ELWIND project will take place in the offshore wind park research area, located between Pāvilosta and Užava.

Laura Štrovalde, Deputy Director for Investment and Energy at the Investment and Development Agency of Latvia (LIAA), says that the CINEA funding is a significant milestone for the joint Latvian-Estonian ELWIND offshore wind park project. “The close cooperation with Estonian colleagues and the EU will contribute significantly to the further development of the ELWIND project. At the same time, this project will serve as a positive example for the use of renewable energy in the Baltic Sea,” said L. Štrovalde, emphasising that the development of such projects will stabilise electricity prices in the region to around EUR 40 per MWh, which will provide additional advantages in attracting new investment.

The next step in the ELWIND project is to conduct an environmental impact assessment in the areas of the Latvian-Estonian ELWIND offshore wind park. The environmental impact assessment will analyse the impact of the wind park on bird migration routes, fish spawning grounds and mammals, as well as on shipping routes. Technical studies will also be conducted to analyse the bed characteristics, water depth, wind, and wave measurements and to design the optimal location of the wind park and electricity transmission infrastructure. Using the results of this research, ELWIND aims to identify and mitigate environmental impacts and to obtain all the technical data to ensure responsible and sustainable project development. The research is scheduled to start this year and will last until 2026.

A public consultation is already planned for August this year. Prior to that, information seminars will also be organised in Jūrkalne and Pāvilosta to involve local residents and provide more information about the ELWIND offshore wind park. This open dialogue aims to gather views and promote transparency throughout project development.

The ELWIND offshore wind park will be a major project for the Baltic Sea region with a high economic and social impact. The construction of the wind park in both areas of Latvia and Estonia will provide an electricity capacity of at least 1000 megawatts, which will significantly strengthen the energy independence of Latvia and the Baltic region.

Source: Investment and Energy at the Investment and Development Agency of Latvia (LIAA)