Estonia blocks £1.4bn offshore wind farm

The GE-Alstom Block Island Wind Farm stands in the water off Block Island, Rhode Island, U.S., on Wednesday, Sept, 14, 2016. The installation of five 6-megawatt offshore-wind turbines at the Block Island project gives turbine supplier GE-Alstom first-mover advantage in the U.S. over its rivals Siemens and MHI-Vestas. Photographer: Eric Thayer/Bloomberg
The GE-Alstom Block Island Wind Farm stands in the water off Block Island, Rhode Island, U.S., on Wednesday, Sept, 14, 2016. The installation of five 6-megawatt offshore-wind turbines at the Block Island project gives turbine supplier GE-Alstom first-mover advantage in the U.S. over its rivals Siemens and MHI-Vestas. Photographer: Eric Thayer/Bloomberg

The Estonian government has decided not to proceed with an application for a 600-megawatt wind farm by developer Saare Wind Energy OU, citing security concerns.

The company had been drawing up plans for four years and had applied for a 50-year building permit for 100 six-megawatt turbines off the island of Saaremaa. The cost of the project was estimated at 1.7 billion euros ($1.92 billion).

“The reason for refusal is a suspicion that the applicant may threaten public order, safety of the society and national security,” the government said last week in a statement.

Justice Minister Urmas Reinsalu in February cited an assessment by the security service that the project “could carry potential security threat due to background of investors,” without being more specific. A spokesman for the Estonian security service also that month told public broadcaster ERR that potential funding sources were unclear and could be linked to Russia.

A spokesman for the economy ministry on Thursday declined to comment.

Kuido Kartau, co-owner of Saare Wind Energy, said the company will most likely go to court over the refusal to handle the application. Citing security concern was “complete rubbish,” he said by phone.

“We don’t have any agreements with any Russian investors on the wind park project,” Kartau said.

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