In 2017, two wind energy developers Eurowind OÜ and Nelja Energia AS submitted an application to Sauga parish (now Tori parish) for the approval of design provisions for constructing a wind park. According to the area planning, the area under question is a peat deposit that is also suitable for wind park construction. At the time of the application, three companies held permits for extracting peat. Sauga parish denied approval of design provisions, because peat extraction was supposed to continue for decades and in the view of the parish, the wind park could only be constructed after the peat deposit is exhausted. Eurowind OÜ filed a complaint to the Tallinn Administrative Court, which rejected it as well as the District Court.
The Supreme Court accepted the complaint and ruled that if an area has been dedicated to wind energy development by an area planning, then the administrative body (parish, Land Board or Environmental Board) must do everything reasonable to implement this when deciding upon the approval of design provisions. The Court also considered both the extraction of peat from deposits already in use and the construction of wind turbines to increase wind energy production to be in significant public interest.
In the Court’s view, an option whereby wind energy can be produced and peat extracted simultaneously could possibly best satisfy both public interests. Both the parish and the state are obliged to actively assist finding the best solution. Although the developers and the peat extractors have the greatest responsibility in finding a suitable solution, if an agreement is not reached, administrative bodies must take action to balance the different public interests, including amending the peat extraction permits to allow the construction of the wind park.
|05/05/2021||Decision||Download||Supreme Court decision|