The State Forest Management Center (RMK) is organizing a public, in-person auction for the sale of the Tootsi wind farm property in Parnu County on February 18, 2020. The starting bid has been set at EUR 12.3 million.
The auction will take place at the RMK building in Tallinn, located at Toompuiestee 24, beginning at 2:00 p.m.; registration of bidders will begin on site one hour prior, according to an ad on RMK’s homepage. The size of the deposit is set at EUR 1.23 million, with a participation fee of EUR 3,000 and a minimum bid increment of EUR 50,000. The starting and final bids are inclusive of VAT.
The property up for auction, which is located in a depleted peat bog, consists of 40 cadastral units. Three structures registered in the construction register are located on the property, in addition to two 26-meter-wide and 1-meter-deep foundation beds, the excavated soil from which has been stored nearby.
The government decided at its November 28 Cabinet meeting to sell the Tootsi wind farm property at auction, and provided guidelines regarding the sale to the Ministry of the Environment.
In December 2016 the government decided to give the Tootsi property to AS Eesti Energia as a non-monetary downpayment. Businesses who had likewise been interested in purchasing the property took the government’s decision to court and to the European Commission. In April 2017 the government repealed the previous decision and ordered the Ministry of the Environment to sell the Tootsi wind farm property via public auction.
In 2017 the decision to put the Tootsi property up for auction was appealed by the Sonajalg brothers-owned Eleon AS, the Harry Raudvere-owned Raisner AS and Tootsi Tuulepark OU, a subsidiary of Nelja Energia, a company whose majority stake was owned by a Norwegian energy company. The Estonian state-owned Eesti Energia has since acquired Nelja Energia.
The courts found in their rulings that the RMK had the right to organize an auction according to the conditions set out by the relevant decisions. The cases have thus concluded, giving the Ministry of the Environment the opportunity to move forward with operations connected with the property.
The 160-hectare Tootsi wind farm property is located in the village of Metsakula in Vandra Municipality. The property consists of 40 cadastral units, 38 of which are anticipated for use for the installation of wind turbines and two for wind measurement towers, according the property’s detailed plan. The current owner of the property is the RMK.
According to thematic plan, only a wind farm may be constructed on the property.
The starting bid for the property was set according to an appraisal at EUR 12.3 million in 2017 already; the price was confirmed again in 2019.
Estonian Wind Technology Association board chairman and Eleon board member Andres Sonajalg said that Eleon would likely participate in the Tootsi auction as the company already had a building permit for the construction of its wind turbines on the property.
Nonetheless, he warned that the buyer of the property could not be compelled to build wind turbines on it.
“We know that there are neighbors too here that might be interested in energy projects according to other aspects,” Sonajalg said. “So it cannot be ruled out that this wind farm remains unbuilt there. It has happened before that a company has been bought and then shut down; this hasn’t been ruled out at all.” (ERR/Business World Magazine)