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Plan to build hydro accumulation plant in NW Estonia waiting for municipal, regulatory nod

Estonian news - eteap February 20, 2018

Baltic News Service. 20th of Feb, 2018

A plan of the Estonian company Energiasalv Pakri OU to build a hydro accumulation power plant in the area of Paldiski in northwestern Estonia for 350 million euros has not moved forward because the municipality and the Technical Regulatory Authority (TJA) have yet to give their initial approvals to the project.

“There has been no breakthrough, but things are quietly in progress and we are waiting for the procedures of the municipality and the Technical Regulatory Authority to be completed,” Energiasalv Pakri OU board member Peep Siitam said. “We have done a lot of work and experts have presented their materials,” he added.

Energiasalv needs a detailed plan permission to build on the ground, a special permit for the use of water for the use of water, and a right of superficies to build structures into the sea. Only after these procedures have been completed can a construction permit be sought.

When exactly these parallel application procedures could be completed, Siitam was unable to say.

The TJA in July 2017 endorsed the environmental impact assessment program related to the project.

The company is planning to build a hydro accumulation power plant using a solution where shafts carved into the bedrock would be used to create the difference in elevations. The sea will act as the upper reservoir, whereas the lower reservoir would be situated at a depth of 500 meters. During periods of high demand for electric power and high energy prices the stored water would be released through turbines to produce electric power. During the low-cost, off-peak period the electric power would be used to run the pumps to bring back water from the underground reservoir.

Initially Energiasalv OU planned to set up the power plant at Muuga to the east of Tallinn, but in 2016 they decided to seek the initiation of a detailed plan in Paldiski.

“It seems to us that the town of Paldiski is interested in developing its economic environment and industry several times more than the municipality of Joelahtme. Besides Paldiski is one of the few geologically suitable locations for the establishment of a pumped storage power plant. Therefore were are now focusing on preparing a detailed plan there,”Siitam told BNS in May 2016.

The design of the plant envisages underground storage facilities with a capacity allowing the 500 megawatt plant to work for 12 hours without interruption. The hydro accumulation power plant would function as a balancer of the power system and regulator of the work of wind farms.

The approvals phase of the project has been financed so far by Estonian and Norwegian investors. For the construction phase the company would bring in a strategic investor.

Energiasalv Pakri OU belongs to the company Ennergiasalv Valdus OU, which is owned by Peep Siitam, the investment company Marble Invest OU, and Alexela Varahalduse AS.

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