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Wednesday, 22.02.2017, 01:34
Handover of Toosi wind farm plot is lawful
The government, including the Finance Ministry, is convinced that the government's order corresponds with the laws, Sester said in a letter to the Estonian Wind Technology Association.
According to Sester it is not true that the Tootsi wind farm plot is the only plot in Estonia with a plan and environmental analysis where wind turbines can be erected. "We deem it necessary to point out that already at present other market participants can erect wind turbines in a large volume as well as develop new areas where wind turbines can be erected," Sester writes.
Wind farms can be erected on a 4,855-hectare area in Parnu County, of which the Tootsi plot makes up 1,678 hectares.
According to Sester, based on the rules of the European Single Market as well as European legal practice a state has the right to operate as an entrepreneur based on the same conditions as market participants, and it has no obligation to privatize public property in an auction.
The Tallinn Administrative Court in December suspended for 30 days the handover of the Tootsi wind farm plot to the state owned energy group Eesti Energia as an interim protection measure as part of its handling of a complaint by the private wind farm developer AS Raisner. The court applied initial protection for 30 days by suspending the order of the government No. 404 from Dec. 8 and making a notation concerning prohibition on the Tootsi property in favor of AS Raisner. The proceeding will continue in the administrative court.
The Estonian Wind Technology Association meanwhile has filed with the European Commission a complaint alleging that the decision of the government to give the Tootsi wind farm plot to the state-owned energy company Eesti Energia for free constitutes unlawful state aid. The association argues that the Tootsi plot was not allocated to Eesti Energia on market terms, which should have had to be established by means of an auction.
According to the association the Tootsi wind farm makes up 54% of the whole volume of wind farms planned to be erected in Estonia.
The Estonian government on Dec. 8 decided to approve increasing the share capital of Eesti Energia and hand over to the company the Tootsi plot worth around 4.1 million euros as noncash consideration. The company is planning to build a wind farm worth several hundred million euros and with an output of around 150 megawatts on the plot by 2020.
Eesti Energia in September announced a tender for the design and construction of a wind farm in the Tootsi Suursoo area of exhausted peatlands in Parnu County. To be installed in the wind farm are 38 turbines.
AS Raisner seeks to develop a wind farm with a nominal capacity of 150 megawatts in the territory of the Luganuse rural municipality in East-Viru County.