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Estonia blocks $1.9bn offshore wind project over national security concerns

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Christian Fernsby |
Estonia offshore wind project
Europe   The wind farm was to consist of 100 turbines of 6 MW each

The Estonian government has refused to start the permitting process for the building of a $1.9 billion, 600-MW offshore wind farm off the west coast of the island of Saaremaa, citing national security concerns.

The Estonian developer Saare Wind Energy OU had been drawing up plans for four years and had applied for a 50-year building permit for 100 six-megawatt turbines off the island of Saaremaa, said a report in Bloomberg.

The wind farm was to consist of 100 turbines of 6 MW each 10 to 27 kilometers off the western coast of the island. The company sent a request to the government at the end of 2017 asking it to initiate a construction permit issuance procedure.

“The reason for refusal is a suspicion that the applicant may threaten public order, safety of the society and national security,” the report quoted the agenda of a government’s meeting.

Justice Minister Urmas Reinsalu in February cited an assessment by the security service that the project “could carry potential security threat due to background of investors,” without being more specific.

According to local media reports, one of the main concerns is that funding for the project may come from ”Russia or any other hostile country.” However, Saare has dismissed this claim, saying that the financing offers came from the UK and Germany.

The projected wind farm’s annual output was expected to be 2,800 GWh, which is equal to 30.9% of Estonia's total electricity output.


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