Sunday, January 16, 2005

Alternative Energy Estonia: Eight Windmills to Provide 1% of National Electricity

In Paldiski, Estonia on the site where border guards used to keep watch on the western outpost of the Soviet Union, Baltic European Union newcomer Estonia is erecting a wind farm to generate clean electricity.

The wind-swept Pakri peninsula, which juts into the Baltic Sea 60km west of the capital Tallinn, once hosted a training centre for Soviet border guards. The nearby town of Paldiski was a key Soviet nuclear submarine training ground.

The first three windmills of the Pakri Wind Farm have just been put into operation, with five others to follow before the end of the month.

When the farm is fully up and running, it is expected to supply one percent of Estonia's energy needs, and about 10,000 Estonian households are expected to get electricity from the farm.

The Parki Wind Farm is setting a precedent in the region in the carbon pollution quota market. Under the Kyoto Protocol's implementation project, 0.5 million tons of reduced greenhouse gas emissions will be sold to Finland.

It's among the very first wind power projects anywhere where the economic feasibility is achieved through the sale of CO2 reductions under the joint implementation scheme of the Kyoto Protocol.

On January 1, the EU opened a market for trading in carbon dioxide and other gases.

The total investment cost of the Pakri project is 24 million euros. Most of Estonia's energy is generated using oil-shale fueled power plants, which are big pollutants.

With an expected annual production of 56 GWh (GigaWatt hours), the Pakri wind farm will meet about one per cent of Estonia's net electricity consumption, and thus contribute to achieving Estonia's target of providing 5.1 percent of its electricity needs from renewable sources by 2010.

Developers have already made plans for building more wind farms on other former Soviet military installations in Estonia.

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