Wind power in Estonia

Baltic Sea region | January 2010 - May 2010

Ea Energy Analyses has carried out a study for the Estonian Transmission System Operator, Elering OÜ, on the technical limits for wind power capacity in Estonia in the coming 10 years. The study was launched in January 2010 and completed in May 2010.

Wind power integration and development concerns

In Estonia, deployment of wind power has been encouraged by a favourable incentive scheme which has given birth to a large number of wind power projects in the planning stage. The potential high share of wind power in the Estonian power system gives reason for concerns regarding both the technical and the economic feasibility of wind power integration and development. The Estonian power system is relatively small and the interconnectors to other areas are not fully available for balancing the load and production.

System integration of wind power using Balmorel
The study focussed on system integration of wind power in Estonia and in the Baltic States as a whole. The following questions were analysed:

  • How much wind power capacity will it be technically possible to integrate into the Estonian power system and the Baltic power system?
  • How to deal with uncertainty about forecasting of the wind power production?
  • What are the additional system costs of integrating wind power?
  • How does wind power deployment influence the electricity prices in the region?
  • What is the role of the electricity market in the integration of wind power?

The questions were analysed by setting up a number of scenarios using the Balmorel model.

Room for more wind power in Estonia
The analyses in the study showed that it is technically possible to further develop wind power in Estonia in the coming years without severe balancing costs.

With the current regulatory framework the expansion of the wind power capacity is limited by the lack of possibility to curtail wind power and the missing regime for allocating balancing costs to the various stakeholders. With these limitations, wind power capacity should not exceed 600 MW before Estlink 2 is put into operation and 900-1100 MW when Estlink 2 is in operation.

If these limitations are removed, it will be possible to accommodate up to 1200 MW wind power with Estlink 1 and up to 2000-2200 MW with both Estlink 1 and Estlink 2 in operation.

No technical constraints from wind power forecast errors
Furthermore, the analyses in the study showed that forecast errors are not likely to imply technical constraints on the level of wind power capacity in Estonia, but they create costs in order to ensure sufficient reserves to cover for less wind power production than expected or costs to curtail wind power if wind power production is bigger than expected and no other measures are available.