Enefit Green is exploring the possibility of establishing a wind farm in Saarde Parish, Pärnu County

Eesti Energia's renewable energy company Enefit Green submitted an application for a special development plan to the Saarde Parish to begin an environmental impact assessment and to determine whether a wind farm could be built near Ristiküla, Saarde Parish.

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According to Aavo Kärmas , the Chairman of the Management Board of Enefit Green, the company is working on the basis of Eesti Energia's strategy to find new ways to increase renewable energy as the cleanest form of energy production in the Group's portfolio. Eesti Energia’s goal is to produce already 45% of electricity from renewable and alternative sources by 2023.

"For years, we have been researching the ways to build new wind farms in Estonia, and our analysis has shown that Saarde Parish is a place with good wind potential," said Kärmas. "The next step is the environmental impact assessment which will now determine whether and how a wind farm can be built in Saarde Parish."

Enefit Green is planning to build a wind farm of up to 10 wind turbines in Saarde Parish, which will be located at least one kilometer from residential buildings and inside the forest.

According to Aavo Kärmas, there is globally a growing preference of establishing wind farms in marine or forest areas, because such wind farms are the least disturbing for people. “Whilst the offshore wind farm is far enough from the living environment, the forest will mask and suppress the noise from the wind farm, which is already quite minimal. For wind farms developed in forest areas, we have followed the example of Finland and Germany, where several have been established in recent years,” explained Kärmas.

There will be close cooperation with the local parish throughout the wind farm project process. “We realize that all major infrastructure projects need the support of local people, so we are open to sharing information about the project on an ongoing basis. At the same time, environmental impact assessment will offer many opportunities for local people to express their opinions,” said Kärmas.

“It is positive that the leaders of Saarde Municipality Government already see the wind farm as an opportunity to revive the local economy. At the same time, the local business environment would benefit from this park, as the possibility of direct electricity connection will provide a significant competitive advantage to those industrial companies that are setting up their production near the wind farm,” added Kärmas.

The planned capacity of the wind farm is up to 70 megawatts and it will be completed in 2025. The last major wind farms in Estonia - in Paldiski and Narva ash fields - were completed in 2012 to 2013.

Enefit Green and Eesti Energia currently have three wind farm development projects in Estonia at different stages - offshore wind farms in Northwest Estonia and the Gulf of Riga and a park of up to 30 wind turbines in Lääne-Nigula Parish, Lääne County. In addition, Eesti Energia wishes to continue building the Tootsi Wind Farm, if they succeed in acquiring the land in the auction.

At the same time, Enefit Green is also developing wind farms in Lithuania, where the development portfolio currently includes three wind farm projects with a total capacity of 350 megawatts.