An offshore wind farm developer is set to take the government to court after they were denied permission to develop a project off Estonia’s northwest coast, as reports Estonian media.
We are talking about the Neugrund offshore wind farm project, whose developer is Märt Poots of Neugrund OÜ. The government, in refusing the developer, argued that a wind farm at the planned location would adversely affect radar performance and would be directly contrary to national security interests. In addition, the company is alleged to be out of compliance with planning requirements, including the requirement for the company to be engaged in the area of power generation.
The Neugrund wind farm is expected to have a capacity of 300 MW and would cover about 20 percent of the Estonian energy demand. The farm would be built near the island of Osmussaar, would consist of nearly 40 turbines with a height of 80 meters and would cover an area of 12 km2.
In an interview with ERR, Märt Poots said he had no choice but to challenge the government’s decision in court. According to Neugrund OÜ, the decision demonstrates unequal treatment, as the wind farm in the town of Paldiski received permission even though its turbines also interfere with military radars. The Estonian Ministry of Defense argues that these wind farms were planned and built at a time when there was no obligation to agree with the ministry, so it cannot demand the dismantling of an already operating wind farm. The Paldiski wind farm is owned by state-owned Eesti Energia, which acquired the company that built it in 2018.
In an interview with ERR, Poots said the developer has already completed all surveys and an environmental impact assessment (EIA). Formal work on the project began in 2006 and a construction application was submitted in 2010.
ERR notes that this is not the first time that potential interference with military radar has been a reason to deny a wind farm permit. Another one of such examples is the case of the Aidu (onshore) wind farm.