Van Oord Buys Into Estonian Offshore Wind Farm Project

van oord installation vessel
File image courtesy Van Oord

Published Oct 21, 2020 9:28 PM by The Maritime Executive

Dutch maritime contractor Van Oord announced Tuesday that it has concluded its agreement to buy a stake in Estonian offshore wind company Saare Wind Energy, the developer of the Saaremaa wind farm. 

Van Oord announced its intention to participate in the project in January, with the support of the Netherlands Embassy in Tallinn and the Estonian Investment Agency. After a period of negotiation, Estonian regulators gave permission for Saare Wind Energy to apply for environmental permitting for the development in May 2020, paving the way for the project to move ahead.

The finalization of the deal between Van Oord and Saare follows shortly after the completion of a diplomatic accord on offshore energy development in the Baltic. On September 30, the energy ministers of Poland, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Lithuania, Latvia, Germany and Sweden signed the "Baltic declaration for offshore wind energy." The declaration facilitates joint development of offshore wind power, including the electrical transmission infrastructure required to connect the new generating capacity with consumers on shore. 

According to Van Oord, this means that hybrid projects - involving a combination of offshore wind farms and new interconnectors between neighboring countries - will become a major part of the market. This represents a transition from siloed offshore wind farms towards "meshed" offshore energy networks and hubs. The Saaremaa site is well positioned to combine wind power development with new subsea cable infrastructure, connecting Estonia's grid and the power systems of Sweden and Latvia, according to Van Oord.

Saare Wind has been working on permitting for its first project since 2015, and it may draw on Van Oord's experience in the installation phase. Van Oord has been building wind farms for 15 years, including the 150-turbine Gemini Wind Park off the Netherlands - one of the largest offshore wind projects in the world.