Europe 2020 targets - Estonia

ESTONIA: According to the EU directive, Estonia should derive 25% of its energy from renewable sources by 2020. The Baltic state has decided that most of this renewable energy will come from wind, which is expected to cover 14% of total electricity needs by 2020. The national action plan forecasts 400MW of onshore wind power and 250MW offshore in 2020, amounting to 1.5TWh. The European Wind Energy Association (EWEA), says: "It should not be problematic for Estonia to reach its onshore target. The offshore target seems more challenging, but feasible."

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Last year the government amended the Water Act, giving the go-ahead to offshore development, and clarifying permit applications and fees. Tuuliki Kasonen-Lins, general manager of the Estonian Wind Power Association, says there are two offshore projects in the pipeline that could add 1.3GW, well above the offshore target. EWEA states that the first 100MW of offshore capacity is not expected to come online before 2016.

To increase Estonia’s wind-generated electricity from 3% in 2010 to 15% in the next ten years is quite a stretch. The country added almost all of its current 149MW capacity in the past five years. Three new wind farms should have come online last year — two of these look set to add 95MW in 2011. According to Kasonen-Lins, 300MW will be added onshore by 2014 but after this there are no firm plans. "The rest will be unknown until administrative and grid barriers for onshore are removed and an offshore support scheme is introduced," she says.

Wind turbine owners now receive a fairly generous subsidy of €0.054/kWh up to 600GWh of wind power produced a year, a subsidy secured by the national plan. But the plan states that the wind farms should supply up to 1400GWh of wind power per year, so more than half of the energy produced would not be subsidised.

Current administrative situation is adequate for projects already advanced stages but new projects will suffer from the lack of grid connections, says Estonia’s wind power association. Other barriers are planning issues, grid licensing and the support scheme that does not give subsidy to wind parks over 300MW, says Kasonen-Lins. "Currently the investment climate is extremely unstable. The government should change that by showing they really want to support renewable energy. Our potential that could be achieved by 2020 is much higher than reported in the NREAP," she says.

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