The Saare-Liivi offshore wind farm will produce environmentally friendly electricity, which will help achieve our environmental goals and contribute to the security of our energy supply 
  • 2017
    Establishing the county-wide spatial plan for the maritime area bordering Pärnu County
  • 2021
    Initiation of the superficies licence procedure
  • 2022–2025
    Environmental impact assessment and research
  • 2025–2027
    The design and construction of the wind farm
  • 2028
    Completion of the first stage of the wind farm in the capacity corresponding to the connections
Environmental studies fieldwork for the Saare-Liivi offshore wind farm will be completed this year

As part of the environmental impact assessment for the Utilitas Saare-Liivi offshore wind farm, the studies are entering their second year and are in full swing. All fieldwork required in

The Utilitas Saare-Liivi offshore wind farm development received an important approval

The Consumer Protection and Technical Supervision Agency (TTJA) approved the environmental impact assessment (EIA) program of the Saare-Liivi offshore wind farm developed by Utilitas Wind. Usually, the environmental studies begin

Pre-FEED study of Utilitas offshore wind farm to be completed in January

To confirm the technical and economic feasibility of the Saare-Liivi offshore wind park a study will be carried out with the purpose to identify the most suitable wind turbines, foundation


The recently skyrocketing electricity prices, energy supply threats, and the green revolution are all challenges Estonia is currently facing; our security and well-being depend on how we solve these issues. We are running against time to give up imported fuels, and fossil fuels in general, and to ensure the security of our country and the electricity supply on more favourable terms. Fortunately, solutions are within our reach in the form of offshore wind farms. A quick implementation is already possible with the help of a social agreement, but this requires goodwill and effective cooperation by all parties – the government, municipalities, communities, and companies.

Estonia’s ability to produce electricity in offshore wind farms ensures the environmentally friendly electricity supply needed for domestic consumption and enables the production of hydrogen in the amount needed to cover internal transport and industrial consumption. At the same time, by exporting electricity, we can improve our foreign trade balance.

Estonia has an exceptional geographical location to produce wind energy. There are shallow coastal waters and strong steady winds here, which means many suitable areas for wind energy development. The introduction of wind energy is a cost-effective way to produce renewable electricity and make the electricity system future-proof. With the help of wind turbines, we can create prosperity for Estonian society while also aiming to achieve the agreed climate neutrality goals. We can produce electricity for ourselves, sell it to other countries, and achieve energy security, i.e. not depending on expensive imported fossil fuels.

The energy roadmap recently published by Rohetiiger ( analysed the role of offshore wind farms in Estonia’s energy future. Provided that the state and local governments cooperate effectively with developers and accelerate planning and licence procedures, the number of onshore wind turbines could be doubled in five years (in 2022, there are a total of 145 wind turbines in Estonia) and offshore wind farms could be built with a capacity of 2,700 MW. Such additional production capacity would enable Estonia to become a net exporter of electricity and help achieve carbon neutrality goals in the heating and transport sectors as well.

The capacity of the current offshore wind turbines is ~15 MW, which means the construction of around 180 wind turbines in Estonia; the power of onshore wind turbines is 5–6 MW, so about 150 additional wind turbines are needed. As the technology develops, the turbines are built with higher capacity, so the total number of wind turbines needed can decrease significantly.

To slow climate change, we must move towards a carbon-neutral economic model throughout the European Union. Therefore, the production of renewable energy should not be limited to covering domestic consumption only but, if possible, the export potential should also be used so that renewable energy is used across the region. Various analyses have shown the potential of Estonian offshore wind farms to be approximately 10 GW.

The European Union has set itself the goal of achieving climate neutrality by 2050 at the latest. The energy sector is responsible for the largest part of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in Europe. Consequently, the EU directs its Member States to reduce their CO2 emissions. Due to the new geopolitical and energy market situation, we must significantly accelerate our transition to clean energy and increase energy efficiency, thus reducing Europe’s energy dependence on Russia.

In December 2019, the European Commission presented the European Green Deal, which aims to achieve a European society with a resource-efficient and competitive economy. The intermediate goal of the European climate regulation is to reduce net GHG emissions by at least 55% by 2030 compared to the level of 1990, which Estonia has also supported in its positions. In order to achieve this intermediate goal, the Commission adopted the Fit for 55 package in July 2021. As a counterweight to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the “REPowerEU” plan, published in May 2022, intends to make Europe independent from Russian fossil fuels well before 2030. In Estonia, the potential for meeting the goals of renewable energy is primarily seen in the development of wind energy, estimating the growth of wind energy production in the Estonian national energy and climate plan almost fourfold. However, this goal must grow even more in light of the changing climate and energy security policy.

The European Commission has proposed increasing the EU-level renewable energy target to 45% (instead of the current 32%). In Estonia’s national energy and climate plan, it is planned to reach a share of 42% of renewable energy in the total final energy consumption by 2030, which in turn will increase due to the need to significantly accelerate the transition to renewable energy.

The share of renewable energy in the final energy consumption continues to grow, so the need to introduce various storage technologies, such as pumped-storage hydroelectricity plants and hydrogen technologies to ensure the security of energy supply, is also growing. Hydrogen would be produced by electrolysis, from surplus renewable energy, so to speak, not consumed in the grid. Therefore, a prerequisite for the development of the hydrogen market is the availability of renewable electricity on a large scale. For this, it is necessary to develop offshore wind farms, to solve the problems of the energy network, and to strenghten the national electricity grid and connections between countries. In addition, it would be necessary to further efficiently develop the cogeneration of electricity and heat from biomass at the local level.

The actual number and placement of wind turbines will be determined during the superficies licence procedure, including the environmental impact assessment (hereinafter EIA) and depends on many conditions: construction geology of the seabed, visual impact, bird migration routes, fish spawning areas, flight and shipping corridors, etc. Therefore, it is currently not possible to say exactly how many wind turbines will be set up in the farm. Within the framework of the EIA, a wind farm with up to 160 wind turbines, with a distance between each other of approximately 1km to 1.25 km, is evaluated as the primary potential solution.

According to the technical conditions issued by the grid company, the first stage of development includes installing approximately 80 wind turbines with a total capacity of 1,200 MW, with an expected annual electricity production of over 5 TWh.

The most common manufacturers of offshore wind turbines in the world are currently SiemensGamesa, Vestas, and GE Renewable Energy. These are the only manufacturers of offshore wind turbines that meet the requirements established in Europe and are certified accordingly.

The output of the planned offshore wind turbies offered:

  • Vestas V236-15.0 MW™, with a rotor diameter of 236 meters, a peak height of 270 m, and a power of 15 MW,
  • SiemensGamesa SG 14-236 DD, with a rotor diameter of 236 meters, a peak height of 270 meters, and a power of 14 MW,
  • GE Haliade-X 14 MW, with a rotor diameter of 220 meters, a peak height of 270 meters, and a power of 14 MW.

In recent years, wind turbine technology has developed rapidly and as a result we expect that more powerful and efficient wind turbines will be availabale on the market by the time the planned offshore wind farm will be built. The actual number, model, and placement of the wind turbines will be determined during the superficies licence procedure, including the EIA and the preparation of the work project.

The construction of the wind farm is also accompanied by the construction of the infrastructure necessary for the maintenance of the farm – for example: a maintenance port, the necessary roads and other connections. New jobs will be created in the vicinity of the wind farm, both for  the maintenance works on the farm and for the service of related personnel.

According to the Environmental Charges Act, the municipalities in the subsidy of the offshore wind farm will receive an annual wind turbine stipend, which will go to the local government’s budget. Municipalities can use it at their discretion, for example, to build schools or kindergartens, to maintain local roads, or to improve the living conditions of their residents in any other way.

The CO2 emission of wind turbines throughout their life cycle depends on the size of the wind turbine. The larger the wind turbine, the lower the emission is. For example, in the case of a 3 MW wind turbine, the emission is 4.6g CO2/kWh; the amount of emission from a solar power plant is estimated to be 106g CO2/kWh, compared to 1,000g CO2, which is released into the air to produce 1 kWh of electricity from oil shale.

Depending on the capacity of the wind turbine and its location (onshore or offshore), it takes about 22 to 30 times less energy to build a wind turbine compared to how much it produces during its lifetime. The payback period, during which the energy spent to produce the wind turbine is equal to the energy produced by the wind turbine, is approximately 6.8 months, and in 20 years of operation of a single 3 MW wind turbine, approximately 122,000 tons of CO2 emissions are avoided. Simply put, a wind turbine produces all the energy required for its production, operation, and handling in just six months.

Sources: 1) Raadal, H.L., Gagnon, L., Modahl, I.S., Hanssen, O.J. 2011. Life cycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the generation of wind and hydro power. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews. Elsevier. 15 p. 3417-3422

2) Lackner M. (2021) Energy Efficiency: Comparison of Different Systems and Technologies. In: Lackner M., Sajjadi B., Chen WY. (eds) Handbook of Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation. Springer, New York, NY.

During the environmental impact assessment, comprehensive studies are carried out to identify the possible impact of the wind farm on wildlife. The feeding areas, migration corridors, and the movement routes of fish, birds and bats are investigated in the study. Based on the collected information, the potential impact of the wind farm on the species living and moving through the area are taken into account. On the basis of the collected information, the potential impact of the wind farm on the species living and moving around in the area is discerned.

The main impact on the quality of seawater primarily occurs during the construction of an offshore wind farm, when seabed sediments enter the water column during the installation of foundations and suspended solids are formed. The amount of suspended solids and the extent of their spread depend on the geological conditions of the seabed, the currents, as well as the composition of the sediment, and the type of foundation.

The impact on seawater quality is expected to be short-term and local. During the environmental impact assessment, the amount of suspended solids and the extent of spread are modelled and the potential impact is assessed. During the operation of the offshore wind farm, the quality of the sea water can be affected by possible emergency situations, which can be avoided if all safety rules are followed.

None of the wind turbines are located closer than 10 km to the coast, so the noise from the wind turbines does not exceed the limit values on the coast and the sound is not audible to the human ear. In the vicinity of wind turbines (up to 800 m), noise disturbance may occur at average wind speeds, but the general noise background at sea (wind, waves, etc.) should also be taken into account. This significantly harmonizes the noise caused by wind turbines.

In the course of the environmental impact assessments, the noise of the operating wind turbines is modelled. In addition to airborne noise (including infrasound and low-frequency noise), underwater noise and its effect on fish are also studied.

Several studies have been conducted on the possible impact of infrasound from wind turbines on people. So far, the studies have confirmed that infrasound does not cause health problems to humans, and the infrasound caused by wind turbines is below the threshold of human hearing and perception. The infrasound emitted by wind turbines is of the same magnitude as the one produced by natural phenomena. During the EIA, the possible impact of infrasound and low-frequency sound is described on the basis of previous studies and scientific literature.

The nearest wind turbines are located:

  • From Kihnu island – more than 10 km
  • From the coast in Tõstamaa and Lääneranna – more than 20 km
  • From the coast in Häädemeeste – more than 40 km
  • From the coast in Saaremaa – more than 30 km
  • From the city beach in Pärnu – more than 50 km

The visibility of wind turbines depends on several factors – weather conditions, the placement, size, and location of wind turbines.

The evaluation of the visual effects of the Saare-Liivi  wind farm is carried out in accordance with the guidelines of the methodological recommendations for promoting the development of offshore wind farms.

  • One 15 MW offshore wind turbine is estimated to produce enough electricity for 20,000 households
  • With new (offshore) wind farm, new jobs are created, and new infrastructure is built. Nearby municipalities receive an annual wind turbine subsidy, which can be used to improve the lives of local residents.
  • On average, one wind turbine produces all the energy required for its production and operation in just six months
  • To satisfy the whole of domestic energy consumption, Estonia would need wind farms with a capacity of 2,700 MW offshore and 1,200 MW onshore
For communities 

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The development of offshore wind farms is a new opportunity in Estonia, and the entire process requires the close cooperation of several partners. Utilitas aims to involve local communities in the development of the wind farm from the very earliest stages and communicates directly with residents in order to understand everyone’s wishes and needs. During the entire project, we search for possibilities for cooperation to create synergy between the needs of the region and the development of the energy business.

Utilitas is an Estonian company that has been active in energy production for several decades already. For more than a decade, Utilitas has been working to reduce the country’s dependence on imported fuels and reduce our carbon footprint. Compared to 2008, we have reduced our carbon footprint by 64%. We are the largest producer of renewable energy in Estonia.

In our opinion, offshore wind farms play a central role in solving energy supply and security issues. We see that, with the joint effort of all participants in just five years, the capacity of onshore wind farms could be doubled in Estonia, and offshore wind farms with a total capacity of 2,700 MW could be built. This would cover the energy needs of the entire country, enable the export of energy and achieve carbon neutrality goals in the heating and transport sectors.

The positive impact of the offshore wind farm on communities:

  • The construction of the wind farm also involves the building of infrastructure necessary for its maintenance – for example, maintenance ports are built in the region, or the existing ones are expanded and necessary roads and connections are built
  • New jobs will be created in the vicinity of the wind farm: both for the maintenance works on the farm and for the service of related personnel.
  • According to the Environmental Charges Act, the municipalities in the subsidy of the offshore wind farm will receive an annual wind turbine stipend, which will go to the local government’s budget. Municipalities can use it at their discretion, for example, to build schools or kindergartens, to maintain local roads, or to improve the living conditions of their residents in any other way.
Project team
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Getlyn Allikivi
Offshore Wind
Development Manager
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Kristiina Nauts
Head of Planning and Environmental Impact Assessment
Foto - Jake Farra
Andrus Zavadskis
Technical Manager
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Leino Johanson
Offshore Wind Marine Operations Manager
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Kristo Kaasik
Energy Trading Manager
Foto - Jake Farra
Rene Tammist
Member of the Board

Utilitas is Estonia’s largest renewable energy producer and district heating company. In 2021, Utilitas produced 2.4 TWh of heat and electricity. 65% of the energy was produced from renewable sources. Utilitas is moving towards carbon neutrality by building new renewable energy generation capacities in the region, investing in solar and wind energy, and planning the first green hydrogen pilot project. Utilitas’ consolidated sales revenue in 2021 was 161 million euros and the volume of assets was 486 million euros. The company is owned by the leading international infrastructure fund European Diversified Infrastructure Fund II (EDIF II), whose assets are managed by First Sentier Investors, and companies owned by members of Utilitas’ management.

Utilitas Wind is a rapidly growing energy company that develops renewable energy projects and storage solutions in Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania.