May 3, 2011

Rustle of controversy over new turbines in western county

Kristopher Rikken, Estonian Public Broadcasting, 3 May 2011

Residents in a municipality in western Estonia are opposing new wind turbines in their proverbial backyards by citing a draft four-county plan that prohibits the noisy devices from being built closer than one kilometer to the nearest dwelling.

Such a distance would be far longer than the 300-400 meters for most of the European Union, but since the plan has not been approved yet, it is unclear whether the local lobby has grounds for blocking the turbines.

The original idea behind the four-county plan was to facilitate the building of more turbines, said Arno Peksar, elder of Hanila municipality which is set to get six more turbines in addition to its 26 existing ones.

“But finally it is coming down to the fact that it is not even going to be possible to build them,” said Peksar.

“Estonia has promised the EU to reach a certain percentage of green energy production, but how will it be done in such a case? The wind turbines could be nowhere but at sea. Lääne County has Estonia’s lowest population density. If it isn’t possible to find a spot for wind turbines here, then where else?”

Two of the prospective turbines were planned before the four-county plan was released.

The public comment period for the plan by a company named Skinest AS to build these two turbines runs until May 31. So far eight objections have been received from summer cottage owners in the area. The wind turbines were to be 3 megawatt ones but the municipality has persuaded the company to use quieter 2.3 megawatt turbines.

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