Taking Steps to Develop Offshore Wind Farms in the Eastern Baltic

Developing offshore wind farms in the Baltic States
Ørsted's offshore windfarm near walney in the UK (Ørsted)

Published Apr 26, 2021 3:21 PM by The Maritime Executive

Steps are being taken by the governments of the Baltic region along with the commercial industry to expand offshore wind power into the eastern regions of the Baltic. In the latest development, Danish energy company Ørsted and Enefit, a Baltic utility company, signed a memorandum of understanding to build their role in developing offshore wind power for the Baltic States, including moving towards delivering the first offshore wind farm in the Gulf of Riga before 2030.

"With the right regulatory framework in place, offshore wind can deliver large-scale green energy in Estonia and Latvia before 2030. The sheer size of offshore wind farms makes them ideal for cross-border hybrid solutions, and we commend the Estonian and Latvian governments for their leadership in advancing regional cooperation on large-scale renewable energy production,” said Rasmus Errboe, Head of Region Continental Europe at Ørsted. “The Baltic Sea area is becoming a center for offshore wind build-out which will contribute significantly to the decarbonization efforts of both the region and the European economy. The Baltic countries can to a large extent be powered by renewable energy from offshore wind, and we look forward to teaming up with Enefit to realize this potential."

According to the companies, offshore wind offers a clear green path forward for Estonia and Latvia as they desynchronize from the Russian grid, while Estonia also looks to phase out shale oil as part of its decarbonization efforts. They predict that the Baltic region has the potential to produce above 90 GW which would contribute to the EU’s overall goal to reach 300 GW by 2050.

In 2020, the EU member states around the Baltic Sea signed the Baltic Sea Offshore Wind Declaration to accelerate the build-out of offshore wind in the Baltic Sea to reach both national and international climate targets. The Latvian and Estonian governments signed a memorandum of understanding In September 2020 for a joint offshore wind farm.

Ørsted and Enefit said it is their ambition to deliver the first wind farm in the Gulf of Riga before 2030. This will be contingent on the development of a supportive regulatory framework for offshore wind. Ørsted has already submitted an application for an area in Latvian waters next to the Liivi site. 

The companies intend to establish a joint venture for the development of offshore wind opportunities in the Baltic countries, including the Liivi offshore wind project in the Estonian part of the Gulf of Riga. Through these sites, the partnership aims to pursue a cross-border hybrid solution, which will connect an offshore wind farm to both Latvia and Estonia and enable the utilization of the offshore wind transmission cables as an interconnector between the two countries.

"We have been preparing an offshore wind farm in the Gulf of Riga for more than 10 years, which has given us a good knowledge of the local offshore wind conditions and makes this collaboration well positioned to deliver on the ambitious 2030 targets for Estonia and the Baltic countries,” said Hando Sutter, Chairman of the Management Board of Enefit. “It is essential that offshore wind will be developed in an environmentally friendly way that involves local communities so that they can benefit from the wind farm. The construction of offshore wind farms, like the Liivi or North Western Estonia (Hiiumaa) project, could create the conditions for the emergence of a new industry with professional competences and highly qualified long-term jobs in the fields of energy, transport, and logistics.”