By BBC Monitoring
Tallinn, 12 March: The Estonian government formally decided on Thursday to refuse to initiate a superficies rights procedure for the construction of an offshore wind farm on the Neugrund Bank on the basis of an application submitted by the company OU Neugrund.
The draft decision of the government said that positions made known by the relevant authorities revealed circumstances precluding the initiation of the building permit procedure. Specifically, initiation of the procedure is obviously not possible due to national defence requirements.
The sea area surrounding the Neugrund Bank is used as a naval training area, and the planned wind farm would also fall within the coverage area of the air surveillance radars of the defence forces and would significantly disturb the radar coverage in the area of the Neugrund Bank. This, in turn, would undermine Estonia's defence capability.
The Neugrund wind farm would have been built in an area of shallow seas at the confluence of the Baltic Sea and the Gulf of Finland some 10 kilometres from the northwestern coast of Estonia at the nearest. According to the application, the offshore farm would consist of 36-38 wind turbines with a total capacity of 228 megawatts. The size of the area to be encumbered is approximately 12,000,000 square meters.
Mart Poots, the developer of the Neugrund wind farm, said at the end of last year that the state has been pushing back against the construction of the Neugrund offshore farm already for 15 years. According to him, the wind farm would cover up to 20 per cent of Estonia's annual demand for electricity.
OU Neugrund submitted an application for a superficies license for the construction of an offshore wind farm in the area of the banks of Osmussaar and Neugrund on 10 March 2010.
The proposal to refuse the application was made to the government by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications.
Source: Baltic News Service, Tallinn, in English 0742 gmt 12 May 22