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Estonian-Latvian offshore wind farm project ELWIND is progressing rapidly and has reached a notable milestone – public procurement for a pre-feasibility study, that will aim to preselect suitable geographical areas for the construction of the wind farm, has been successfully completed.

A joint procurement on selecting a suitable contractor for conducting the pre-feasibility study of the offshore areas which are available for developing a unique, regionally-integrated wind farm, has been concluded ahead of schedule. Results of the assessment should become available before the end of the year. Therefore, it is possible that the decision on selecting specific areas for further development may be adopted in early 2022.

Jānis Vitenbergs, Minister for Economy of Latvia, stated: “Development of renewable electricity generation capacities is of utmost importance for the entire Baltic region. Considering the current trend of increasing prices of fossil energy sources, wind-based electricity generation is a vital instrument for ensuring sufficient and stable supply of clean, cheap and carbon-neutral power. We are proud of the magnitude and depth of the cooperation which aims to create a better future for Latvians and Estonians.”

Taavi Aas, Minister for Economic Affairs and Infrastructure of Estonia, added: “We have joined forces with our neighbours with the goal of achieving a sustainable, affordable and stable energy production. We are in the beginning of a long and challenging journey where two good neighbours are efficiently combining their expertise, resources and commitment in order to improve cross-border connectivity and to enhance security of the supply for the Baltics. Furthermore, it is undoubtedly another important step to achieve the goals of European green policy.”

The pre-feasibility study will be carried out by Hendrikson & KO and Pondera Consult. They are expected to assess and model pre-selected development areas for offshore wind park technical capacity installations and submit proposal for the best location of ELWIND wind farms. The aim is to assess several locations of approximately 200 km2 each, assuming a power density of 5-7 MW/km2 for the development of offshore wind parks in the Baltic Sea within Estonian and Latvian exclusive economic zones, based on the assessment of a set of ecological, sustainability, economic and technical criteria.

Back in 2020, ministers Jānis Vitenbergs and Taavi Aas signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), which foresaw the completion of the project by 2030. The offshore wind energy farm is planned with the total capacity of 700–1000 MW, which is envisaged to provide over 3 TWh of renewables-based energy per year.

Estonia and Latvia are planning to apply for co-financing for the construction of the grid from CEF (Connecting Europe Facility) funds, as ELWIND project involves two countries and it could  qualify as a project with regional status.

The project is led by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications of Estonia, Ministry of Economics of Latvia, Environmental Investment Centre of Estonia (KIK) and Investment and Development Agency of Latvia (LIAA).