Estonia and Latvia sign agreement for joint offshore wind energy plan

Estonia and Latvia signed a memorandum of understanding to develop an offshore wind farm this week, the first agreement of its kind in the region.

Minister of Economic Affairs and Infrastructure Taavi Aas (Center) and Latvian Minister of Economic Affairs Janis Vitenbergs digitally signed the memorandum which marks the first steps taken towards the project and carrying out a cost-benefit analysis.

After the states have carried out the necessary studies like environmental impact assessment, they will carry out an auction for the superficial license. Estonia and Latvia will split the costs and income of the project equally.

“Good neighbours joining forces in major energy projects is reasonable and also cost efficient.” said Aas. “This kind of cooperation is unique in the world, as two countries will combine their will and knowledge to improve the security of the supply while increasing renewable energy production. It’s equally important that cross-border cooperation makes it possible to apply for European Union co-funding for the construction of the grid.”

Vitenbergs said: “The development of wind energy over the next decade is very important for the Baltic States. We agree with our Estonian counterparts that we can achieve higher benefits with lower costs with implementing a joint project.”

This week the European Commission announced a plan to establish even more ambitious goals for 2030 greenhouse gas emissions reductions. Estonia and Latvia share the vision that such cooperation in offshore wind is an excellent solution for moving towards higher goals.

“We believe that this project could be the first of many off-shore wind flagships under the BEMIP regional cooperation. The forthcoming European Commission’s Off-shore Renewable Energy Strategy should pave the way for such projects to materialize by facilitating sufficient financing” Aas and Vitenbergs said.

The size of the planned offshore wind farm will be up to 1,000 megawatts, which is up to 20 percent of the power consumption of the two countries.

The project will also serve as a proof of concept for hybrid asset consisting of dual use transmission network and off-shore wind farm.

The joint project makes it possible to attract investments in offshore wind farms to the region and makes connecting to the grid more affordable for others also. This is also a good opportunity for knowledge transfer from North-Sea Energy Cooperation.