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RMK to decide on auction of Tootsi wind farm plot Monday

Estonian news - etea October 13, 2017

Baltic News Service. 13th of October, 2017

The supervisory board of the Estonian state forest manager RMK at a meeting on Thursday agreed that a decision on holding the auction of the Tootsi wind farm plot will be made on Monday.

“A decision [regarding the Tootsi wind farm] will be formulated by Monday, it must be worded very specifically as to not cause needless agiotage about it,” chairman of the supervisory board of RMK Andres Talijarv told BNS.

RMK, which should organize an auction for the Tootsi plot for the construction of a wind farm, has so far not been able to move forward with the sales process as the European Commission has not made a decision over possible state aid for paying the support of the planned wind farm, Talijarv said in August.

Enefit Taastuvenergia, a subsidiary of the state owned energy group Eesti Energia, has carried out preparatory work for construction on the Tootsi plot. As the current renewable energy support scheme in Estonia allows for support to be paid to those wind farms the construction of which was started in 2016 and that will start production in 2020, Enefit could be the only one to receive support in the Tootsi wind farm according to the current scheme, head of media relations at Eesti Energia Kaarel Kuusk has said.

However, Talijarv said that the work of Eesti Energia may not be sufficient to qualify under the current renewable energy subsidy scheme. “We must also take into account the rules of the European Union. The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications are in the process of negotiations in order to clarify what Eesti Energia’s perspective is and what may come of the land in the future altogether,” Talijarv said.

If based on the existing law it will not be possible for Eesti Energia to receive renewable energy subsidy from the planned Tootsi wind farm, it is a separate question altogether how to move forward with its privatization and whether a new renewable energy subsidy should be set before that, Talijarv said.

If an auction is held, RMK’s wish is that it could be contested as little as possible, Talijarv said. He said that there are many entities interested in the plot, in addition from Estonia also from Latvia.

Eesti Energia is definitely planning to participate in the auction if it is finally held, Kuusk said. The company hopes that it will be held in the near future, he added.

The construction of the Tootsi wind farm is a notable part of the preliminary activities of listing the shares in the Eesti Energia renewable energy subsidiary Enefit Taastuvenergia and if the company is not able to do it for some reason, Kuusk said that Eesti Energia has alternative investment plans. He added that the company will announce the scale of them and what they are in specific when it is time to do so.

The government in April declared invalid a decision to allocate land to Eesti Energia for establishing a wind farm at Tootsi in southwestern Estonia and decided to hold an auction for the land.

According to the government coalition agreement signed in November 2016, the government is planning to list 49 percent of the shares in the Eesti Energia renewable energy subsidiary Enefit Taastuvenergia, which would include wind, hydro and other types of renewable energy.

Enefit Taastuvenergia was established by Eesti Energia in summer 2016 and involves renewable energy units like the Iru power plant, wind farms in Aulepa, Narva, Paldiski and Virtsu, and the heat and power stations in Paide and Valka. Additionally, Enefit Taastuvenergia manages the hydroelectric plants at Keila-Joa and Linnamae.

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