November 9-11, 2021 a delegation of Estonian offshore wind developers, entrepreneurs from the value chain, representatives from the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications and the Estonian Investment Agency visited Norway. The visit was organised in collaboration with NORWEP, Norwegian Embassy in Estonia and Estonian Embassy in Norway with the aim to get acquainted with the Norwegian offshore industry and to improve cooperation between Norwegian and Estonian counterparts.
The importance of transitioning to green energy and economy, lowering the CO₂ emissions, and carbon neutrality are in greater focus than ever before. Estonia is on the brink of a fundamental energy transition, where wind energy plays a central role in the coming years.
The European Union’s offshore energy strategy, presented in 2020, envisages an increase in European generation capacity in offshore wind farms from the current 12 GW to at least 60 GW until 2030 and to 300 GW until 2050. The Baltic Sea can make a significant contribution to achieving this purpose with a potential of more than 90 GW, while 7 GW of them is planned to Estonian waters generating enough energy to cover Estonia’s yearly consumption more than two fold.
Estonia has ambitious plans in developing offshore wind energy
The biggest offshore wind developers in Estonia are currently working on environmental impact analysis to eliminate the possible negative impact on the marine environment and get the license. Of the participated companies Saare Wind Energy, Enefit Green, and Sunly have specific development plans, first two summing up to 2,5 GW combined capacity. Additionally, the governments of Latvia and Estonia have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the establishment of a joint offshore wind farm, a project that is expected to be commissioned by 2030.
Karmo Kõrvek from Enefit Green, one of the visit participants, finds the potential for collaboration between Estonia and Norway reasonable, as the Norwegian energy market is preparing for the gradual transition to renewable energy and is also planning to develop wind farms in the Baltic Sea region.
Estonian government is looking for ways to improve the whole ecosystem of the offshore industry. Most notably, by the start of the next calendar year, Estonia will have a maritime spatial plan (MSP). The purpose of MSP is to agree upon the principles for the use of Estonian marine area in the long term – to promote maritime economy, contribute to achieving and maintaining the good environmental status and production of green energy. In addition, Estonia is looking at many other strategical topics, such as education system reforms, infrastructure and electricity grid development targeted at the offshore industry in the coming years. New interconnections with Sweden and Finland are in the pipeline.
The delegation had a tight program with many fruitful meetings and discussions with the biggest names of Norwegian offshore industry, such as DNV, Equinor, Aker Offshore Wind, Norwegian Energy Partners, Reach Subsea, Marine Energy Test Center (METCentre), Norwegian Offshore Wind Cluster, Eksfin – Export Finance Norway, Vårgrønn, Magnora Offshore Wind, Multiconsult, Subsea7, Tampnet, Deep Offshore Wind, Deep Ocean, KONGSTEIN, Windstaller Alliance, KARMSUND HAVN Karmsund Port Authority, Simon Møkster Shipping, Karmsund Group, and Utsira municipality.
Estonian companies had the opportunity to hear about the Norwegian government roadmap, major ongoing projects, international cooperation, and Norwegian know-how in collaboration between the different marine industries. The main message echoed by Norwegian companies was the great potential for developing offshore wind farms and offshore industries in Estonia and other neighboring countries. As the Baltic Sea has great potential for green energy production, there is no need for the offshore industry’s big players to look for partners from other continents in the coming years. Offshore marks also the opportunity to consider investments into Estonian waters’ aquaculture projects, even in combination with wind farms.