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Wind Technology Association files unlawful state aid complaint re Estonia

EWPA news - eteap December 20, 2016

Baltic News Service, 20th of December, 2016

The Estonian Wind Technology Association has filed with the European Commission a complaint alleging that the decision of the Estonian government to give the Tootsi wind farm plot to the state-owned energy company Eesti Energia for free constitutes unlawful state aid.

The Tootsi plot was not allocated to Eesti Energia on market terms, which should have had to be established by means of an auction, the association says.

“Private companies have paid several times more for the development of similar wind farms in a tender, which puts them at a competitive disadvantage compared with state owned companies and leads to monopolization of the market,” it stands in the complaint.

Eesti Energia in September announced a tender for the design and construction of a wind farm in the Tootsi Suursoo area of exhausted peatlands in the southwestern Parnu County. To be installed in the wind farm are 38 turbines.

The government has decided to give the plot to Eesti Energia as noncash consideration worth 4.1 million euros.

The Estonian Wind Technology Association argues that judging by the costs incurred by private developers of the Aidu wind farm in East-Viru County, each wind turbine plot should cost 493,218 euros, meaning a price tag of 18.7 million euros for land in Tootsi wind farm project. This means Eesti Energia receiving each plot 4.5 times cheaper than the market price.

On a per hectare basis, the sum total would be more than 48 million euros.

According to the association, Eesti Energia gets the land effectively for free because the noncash consideration brings with it no expenses for Eesti Energia and the company is thus obtaining an unlawful competitive advantage. Second, interest rates for the state owned company are lower than for privately held companies.

The planned facility at Tootsi would be the largest wind farm in Estonia.

The Estonian Wind Technology Association has 35 Estonian businesses as members, who together control 74.5 percent of the existing and projected wind energy capacity of Estonia connected to the electricity grid.

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