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Estonian DefMin: Wind farm developers must buy extra radars themselves

Estonian news - eteap April 11, 2018

Baltic News Service. 10th of April, 2018

New wind farms in areas near the Russian border that may undermine the effectiveness of airspace monitoring radars are not necessary to fulfill Estonia’s renewable energy goals, and if developers of wind farms nevertheless wish to set up wind turbines there, they must pay for additional radars themselves following an agreement with the Ministry of Defense.

“First, a conclusion was reached in the course of the work of a work group for the development of wind farms taking into account the security needs of the Ministry of Defense that the renewable energy goals for 2020 set out in the National Energy Development Plan can be reached also without the implementation of national defense related compensation measures,” Meelis Oidsalu, deputy secretary general of the Ministry of Defense for defense planning, told BNS on Tuesday.

“Second, it has been established through weighing various options that without acquiring additional radars and radar systems for the Ministry of Defense, the Ministry of the Interior or some other agency it is not possible to lift security related restrictions valid for wind farms. These restrictions have been charted by now when it comes to the systems of the defense forces,” Oidsalu said.

Also the potential locations of additional airspace monitoring radars have been charted with the organizations representing developers.

Oidsalu said that the life cycle costs of one airspace monitoring radar of the defense forces amount to broadly 52 million euros, which is not taken into consideration in the National Energy Development Plan or the National Defense Development Plan. No other solution aside from the acquisition of additional sensors to eliminate the negative effect from the operation of wind turbines is available on the market, the official observed.

He said that if developers are interested in the acquisition of additional sensors to compensate for the negative effect of the establishment of new wind farms, negotiations can be started among the developers, the Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications to conduct a cost-benefit study and find a cost-compensating scheme that will ensure certainty of financing and consistency with the Constitution for the state and equal treatment for the developers.

“The underlying assumption is that the entire additional cost to compensate for the impact of wind farms on the national monitoring system will be covered by the developers of wind farms,” Oidsalu said.

The work group meanwhile will continue its work. Among other things, it is planning in collaboration with the Tallinn University of Technology to measure the impact of wind generators on radio systems starting from May.

Oidsalu added that developers see easing restrictions not related to national defense, such as environment related restrictions in county plans for South Estonia, for instance, as the most sensible option with a view to establishing new wind farms in the future.

“This requires that the representatives of developers negotiate with the municipalities and the Ministry of Finance,” he said.

On March 15, Oidsalu presented the actions of the work group for the development of wind farms taking into account the needs of national security to the government. The work group brings together, in addition to officials from several ministries, representatives of the organizations of wind farm developers.

The government tasked the work group with informing the wind farm developrs about the national security related restrictions, which was done at the Ministry of Defense on Tuesday.

Representatives of the work group and developers have taken part in a conference of the European Wind Energy Association to obtain information about the state of play in other countries. In addition, the Ministry of Defense has invited people from the defense forces of Finland to Estonia to speak about the relevant practices of Finland. From these contacts it has appeared that national security related restrictions on wind farms are used widely, whereas their application differs somewhat depending on the country’s geopolitical location.

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