Latvia and Estonia plan joint wind energy project in Gulf of Riga

Estonia and Latvia have signed a memorandum of understanding that will lead to the two Baltic countries jointly developing an up to 1GW offshore wind farm in the Gulf of Riga.

Latvia and Estonia plan to raise EU funding for a joint wind farm project in the Gulf of Riga, LETA was told at the Economics Ministry. 

The ministry’s representatives who would not elaborate on the details of the project, said that the plan is to prepare the project by 2030, raising co-funding for preparatory works and infrastructure from the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF). The project aims for building a high-capacity – at least 700-1,000 megawatt – wind farm. 

In December 2019, Latvia’s then economics minister Ralfs Nemiro (KPV LV) met with Estonian Minister of Economic Affairs and Infrastructure Taavi Aas to discuss the idea to build a joint Latvian-Estonian wind farm in the Baltic Sea and the Gulf of Riga. 

“The operation of a joint wind farm in the Baltic Sea and the Gulf of Riga could provide significant economic benefits and contribute to the two countries’ energy security, diversifying supply sources,” the Economics Ministry indicated. 

The two ministers were unanimous about the necessity to continue work on the project and agreed that the next step would be drawing up the project’s guidelines. 

This year, the Latvian and Estonian ministries in charge of energy have continued to work on the project, drafting a memorandum of understanding. 

“The memorandum describes the project’s main objectives – to develop a wind farm and related infrastructure. An application is expected to be sent soon for CEF funding for research work. This financing would be used to analyze various locations as possible sites for building the wind farm. After this assessment, a decision will be taken on the project’s advancement,” the Economics Ministry said.

Economics Minister Janis Vitenburgs (KPV LV) told LETA that in the next decade, development of wind energy projects will be highly important to the Baltics states and that experience suggests that developers of such large projects tend to face various obstacles, which is why more active government-level involvement would be necessary. 

“Our Estonian colleagues and we are unanimous that by implementing a joint project we can ensure greater benefits for lower costs. The memorandum of cooperation marks the first steps to detail the project and carry out the cost-benefit analysis. After that we will be able to decide on the project’s further implementation,” Vitenbergs said.

The minister added that the wind farm might be constructed by private investors chosen in a public tender.

As reported, the Estonian government on July 30 authorized Minister of Economic Affairs and Infrastructure Taavi Aas to sign a memorandum of understanding with Latvia with a view to the two countries developing a joint offshore wind farm in the Gulf of Riga. The Latvian side might approve the memorandum at a Cabinet meeting in the next coming weeks.