Estonia: fortum eyes a major solar energy park
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.