A dedicated auction for offshore wind could be five years away, Estonia’s deputy secretary general for energy told OWJ, but the country is already planning joint offshore windfarms with Latvia and welcomes the idea of projects with other countries in the Baltic.
Timor Tatar told OWJ the country planned to hold large-scale renewable energy auctions in 2021 and 2023, but these will most likely be met by onshore wind capacity.
He confirmed reports that Estonia is working with Latvia to figure out a roadmap and for a joint Estonia-Latvia offshore wind auction, but this might take time. “First we need to do some homework with Latvia to figure out suitable sites,” he said.
Mr Tatar said the Estonian government sees a central role for wind energy with a growing role for offshore wind. Although the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications believes onshore wind is the most economic option for Estonia in the near-term, Mr Tatar said it is clear that offshore wind will be most efficient in the long-term.
He said he sees significant potential for regional cooperation in the Baltic and cooperation on a wider scale than the Estonian venture with Latvia.
Cooperation would strengthen the energy markets of several countries in the Baltic, he said. He sees the North Seas Energy Cooperation initiative as one Baltic states might replicate and suggested that Baltic states would benefit from harmonisation of their plans for offshore wind and of their approach to it.
“Cooperation between states will make offshore wind more affordable,” he said, although he noted that a lot of work remains to be done on marine spatial planning in Estonia and in neighbouring countries before large-scale development can get underway.
“The more we can take care of the risks in advance of projects, the more affordable offshore wind will become,” he said. “It makes sense to solve potential problems and conflicts of interest at the earliest possible stage.
“It would be very helpful to countries like Estonia if the European Union’s upcoming offshore wind strategy included practical measures such as a ‘toolbox’ that countries could use to address issues such as these, along with others like finance for offshore wind.”