The governments of Estonia and Latvia have signed a memorandum of understanding to jointly develop a 1-GW offshore wind farm in the Gulf of Riga, the Baltic Sea. The wind farm, which is expected to be commissioned by 2030, would produce approximately 3.5 terawatt-hours (tWh) of electricity per year, which is approximately 40 per cent of Estonia’s annual electricity consumption.

“The offshore wind farm area developed jointly by Estonia and Latvia is a unique project that contributes to the achievement of the countries’ renewable energy goals and creates new opportunities for other offshore farm developments,” Estonia’s Prime Minister Jüri Ratas said. According to Taavi Aas, Estonia’s Minister of Economic Affairs and Infrastructure, developing the wind farm in partnership with Latvia makes this a cross-border project which as such qualifies for support from the European Union. “This, in turn, makes it cheaper to build other wind farms in the area, as other projects in the same area would also benefit from the grid infrastructure to be built for the farm,” said Aas.

Both countries are to jointly carry out feasibility studies to decide on the best location for the development, taking into account general wind conditions, existing projects, environmental considerations etc., after which the development will be put out to tender via open auction. “An open competition ensures equal treatment of market participants, the lowest possible price of renewable energy for consumers, and the efficient use of our marine resources,” said Aas.

REGlobal’s Views: Wind energy utilization rate in Estonia and Latvia varies by great extent. Onshore wind farms have clearly established themselves in Estonian landscapes and development activity in this sector has seen an increasing trend while it is still moderate in Latvia. A large offshore wind farm will certainly contribute to both Estonia and Latvia’s electricity supply security and help attract foreign investors.