Es­to­nia: for­tum eyes a ma­jor so­lar en­ergy park

The Baltic Times - - BALTIC NEWS - BNS/TBT Staff

The Fin­nish en­ergy group For­tum is plan­ning to build a 10-50 megawatt so­lar en­ergy park in the Lu­unja par­ish sit­u­ated in Es­to­nia’s Tartu County, the size of the in­vest­ment would cor­re­spond­ingly be 10 to 50 mil­lion Eu­ros.

“We have been do­ing prepara­tory work and have signed con­tracts with the con­sul­tants -this is a se­ri­ous plan of ours,” For­tum Es­to­nia and For­tum Tartu CEO Margo Ku­laots said.

The ru­ral mu­nic­i­pal­ity gov­ern­ment of Lu­unja has ini­ti­ated for a de­tailed plan to be drawn up for the con­struc­tion of the so­lar en­ergy park, but ac­cord­ing to Ku­laots, ac­qui­si­tion of the nec­es­sary land cur­rently owned by the state is still un­re­solved. “Se­condly, the land is pol­luted,” Ku­laots said.

“At the mo­ment we do not know if it needs to be fixed or not. At the same time, no hu­mans will be work­ing there. For ex­am­ple, if we look at Ger­many where there are a num­ber of so­lar en­ergy parks, then those parks have been built specif­i­cally on lands where noth­ing else could be done, be it pol­luted land or mil­i­tary train­ing ar­eas,” he said.

Un­til it is cer­tain how much land the com­pany will be ac­quir­ing, it is not clear how big of a park For­tum could build, Ku­laots said. “This is why the whole process is at a pe­cu­liar stage -- we are do­ing some­thing, but do not ex­actly know how big that some­thing is,” he said, adding that they hope to re­solve the is­sue with the land within the next few weeks.

As the park will only have so­lar pan­els, Ku­laots es­ti­mates that in­stalling them will not be very time-con­sum­ing. “If ev­ery­thing goes ac­cord­ing to plan, the park should be fin­ished this year at the ear­li­est,” he said.

If the com­pany ac­quires a piece of land smaller than an­tic­i­pated, the plan of build­ing the park could fall through. “Once the matter of the land is clear, we will cal­cu­late the cost-ef­fec­tive­ness our­selves and see whether we can move for­ward,” he said.

The com­pany has not looked else­where in Es­to­nia with re­gards to suit­able land. “If we can­not do it there, we will not do it at all. It won’t be the end of the world,” Ku­laots noted.

Ac­cord­ing to Ku­laots, For­tum is plan­ning to build a so­lar park of con­sid­er­able size with a min­i­mum out­put of 10 megawatts. “The size will vary be­tween 10 and 50 megawatts. We will prob­a­bly not be go­ing be­low 10 megawatts, but that too is a matter of de­cid­ing once we have cleared the is­sue with the land,” he said.

Ac­cord­ing to Ku­laots, the price of the 10-megawatt park will be around 10 mil­lion Eu­ros and the price of build­ing a 50-megawatt park around 50 mil­lion Eu­ros.

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