The European Climate, Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency (CINEA) has approved an EUR 18.7 million co-funding for the Latvian-Estonian cross-border offshore wind farm project Elwind, LETA was told at the Latvian Investment and Development Agency (LIAA).

The funding for studies necessary for the  project’s development has been granted from the European Union’s support instrument Connecting Europe Facility. The approved co-funding will enable high-quality studies to be carried out to determine the environmental impact of the Latvian and Estonian Elwind offshore wind farm sites and to plan the interconnections between the wind farm and the electricity transmission networks and the connections to the onshore grid.

The co-financing will cover half of the total estimated costs. “On Latvia’s side, the research of the Elwind project will be carried out in the research area of the offshore wind park, located between Pavilosta and Uzava.

LIAA deputy director for investment and energy Laura Strovalde said that the CINEA funding is a significant turning point in the development of the joint Latvian-Estonian wind farm project.

“Close cooperation with our Estonian colleagues and the EU will make an important contribution to the further development of the Elwind project. At the same time, the project will serve as a positive example of renewable energy in the Baltic Sea,” said Strovalde, adding that the development of such projects will stabilize electricity prices in the region at around EUR 40 per megawatt hour (MWh), which will provide additional advantages in attracting new investment.

The next step in the Elwind project is to carry out an environmental impact assessment of the Latvian and Estonian Elwind offshore wind farm sites. The environmental impact assessment will analyze the impact of the wind farm on bird migration routes, fish spawning grounds and mammals, as well as on shipping routes.

A public discussion of the project is planned for August this year. Prior to this, information seminars will be organized in Jurkalne and Pavilosta to involve local residents and provide more information about the Elwind offshore wind farm. This open dialogue aims to find out people’s opinions and promote transparency throughout the project life cycle.

The Elwind offshore wind farm will be a major project for the Baltic Sea region with a high economic and social impact. The construction of the wind farm in both areas of Latvia and Estonia will provide electricity capacity of at least 1,000 megawatts, which will significantly strengthen the energy independence of Latvia and the Baltic region.