The Estonian Parliament (Riigikogu) passed amendments to the Natural Gas Act and other related laws during one of the session. The amendments also provide new solutions for onshore and offshore wind power in Estonia.

According to the proposed draft, from 1 July 2023, regulations will require wind farm developers to pay a fee to municipalities and local residents to encourage RES development in the country. Under the revised regulations, people living within three kilometers of an onshore wind farm will be able to receive a payment of up to six months’ minimum wage.

The Minister of Economic Affairs and Infrastructure, Riina Sikkut, said that this is a desirable move to motivate local communities to participate in the creation of wind farms, but also for developers to transfer a portion of the revenue to residents and municipalities directly affected by the farms.

For onshore wind farms, the fee will be calculated as a percentage of the wind farm’s capacity and the price of electricity (0.7-1%). For example, if the price of electricity for a 100 MW wind farm is €50/MWh, the equalization fee would be €150,000 per year, and if the fee is divided between local authorities and 100 households, each resident would receive about €750 per year.

“Wind energy has a very important role to play in creating Estonia’s energy independence. Although wind farm developers have signed financial agreements with communities or municipalities in the past, the legal basis for such agreements was incomplete in Estonia. I am glad that a production fee for wind energy has been written into the law and I hope that this will give an additional boost to the development of wind farms in various parts of Estonia”, Sikkut said.

For offshore wind farms, a municipality whose coastline is closer than 20 kilometers will receive a fee according to the formula. The calculation also depends on the power and price of electricity, which is, for example, on the order of 1.4 million euros per year for a 1,000 MW farm and an electricity price of 50 euros/MWh.

Fishermen will be compensated if their fish catch decreases due to the wind farm. Wind farms already in operation will not be subject to the wind fee.

According to the Estonian Wind Power Association (Eesti Tuuleenergia Assotsiatsioon), 55 MPs voted in favor of the bill, 18 against.

Source: Tuuleenergia/The Minister of Economic Affairs and Infrastructure