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Eleon waiting for govt’s decision to start producing wind turbine rotor blades

Estonian news - eteap March 15, 2016

Baltic News Service, 15th of March, 2016

The Estonian company Eleon is prepared to set up a plant for the manufacture of wind turbine rotor blades by next summer, but will do it only if the rules for the payment of wind energy subsidy to be laid down in the new Electricity Market Act are similar to the ones valid now.

“It’s true that we need a big manufacturing area, altogether 10,000 square meters, but using modern technology a steel-structure hall of 10,000 square meters can be completed in less than six months,” Oleg Sonajalg, manager of Eleon, told BNS on Tuesday. He said the company would be prepared to have the plant in operation by next summer.

Sonajalg said moving forward with the plan depends on the proceeding of the Electricity Market Act in the parliament and the decision of the government.

“The plan of training for the unemployed of East-Viru County was very positive, it definitely served as a motivator for us to set up a manufacturing operation namely there,” Sonajalg added.

As the next thing the company expects the government to make a decision about the creation of a measure of innovation support in renewable energy support. Sonajalg said this is because having a reference facility using Eleon wind turbines in Estonia is a very important part of their business plan.

“There have to be certain visible results, to show how the wind farm has worked, what its output has been and how reliably it has worked, along with several other things,” Sonajalg said. In order to have such reference base the present system of subsidies or something similar must continue.

“If the arrangement of support is changed it will be definitely very difficult to finance new wind farms in Estonia, and if we cannot create a reference base in Estonia we won’t be able to export wind turbines either,” he said.

In case of a positive decision of the government, Eleon would launch the manufacture of turbine rotor blades in conjunction with the German company Euros, whose plant in Poland has manufactured the prototypes of Eleon rotor blades so far.

In addition Eleon is planning to start manufacturing wind generator bodies and generators here. “On this we are holding negotiations now with ABB on the one hand and with the German company Partzsch, which has been manufacturing the active parts of generators for us so far, on the other,” Sonajalg said.

He said the system of subsidies used so far has favored the import of technology. “At the same time when others were building up wind farms using imported technology, we were developing an innovative project in renewable energy. And now, when this project has materialized, we are in a situation where we would need this support to continue for some more time so that we could build up our industry,” he said.

Sonajalg said that in addition to Eleon also the company Goliath Wind and the developer of small wind turbines Tuge are busy developing wind generating technology in Estonia and maintaining the present system is important also to them.

“There are three developments in Estonia. Estonia is in a unique situation in this regard, I haven’t heard of anything like this in Latvia or Lithuania,” he said.

Eleon, a company belonging to Estonian businessmen Andres and Oleg Sonajalg, and the East-Viru County industrial areas development foundation SAIVTA said on Tuesday they have signed a letter of intent with a view to setting up a plant for the manufacture of wind turbine rotor blades at the Johvi Logistics and Business Park.

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