Estonia joined International Renewable Energy Agency

Estonian Ambassador to Germany Mart Laanemäe signed the statute of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) in Berlin this week, which signifies Estonia’s joining IRENA.
Ambassador Mart Laanemäe stated that Estonia has been deeply involved in the creation of the agency from the beginning. “We live in a world where energy consumption grows from year to year while energy resources are steadily depleting. In the long run, we can’t continue to rely on fossil fuels. We must increase the use of renewable energy and promote energy conservation,” said Ambassador Laanemäe. “Estonia has set the goal to increase the use of renewable energy from the current 18% to 25% by the year 2010. With IRENA’s help, we can do this as effectively as possible and share our experiences in wind energy and biomass in order to promote the use of renewable energy all over the world,” stated Ambassador Laanemäe.
IRENA is an intergovernmental organisation whose goal is to draw together and analyse activities and research in the field of renewable energy, guide the development of renewable energy, and promote its widespread use across the world. One of the agency’s primary responsibilities is to consult with members on energy sources, technology, business models, choosing an organisational and regulating framework, and adjusting to changes.
On 29 January of this year the statute of the International Renewable Energy Agency was approved in Berlin and opened to the signatures of those who wished to join. Today 96 nations have signed the statute. IRENA will officially enter into force once 25 nations have submitted their instruments of ratification. Currently IRENA has not yet officially come into force as an agency.

Source: Estonian Review

Retailer: no-one can replace 180,000 price labels in six days

Estonian department store group Tallinna Kaubamaja said that it would have to replace 180,000 price labels because of 2 percent VAT rate raise from July 1, reports ERR. “No-one can replace 180,000 price labels in just six days,” said Enn Parel, sales and marketing manager of Tallinna Kaubamaja.

Parel said that tehy are now considering whether to put up signs warning buyers that actual prices will differ from those shown on the labels. 

The company has already contacted the consumer protection authority for advise on how to inform the customers about new prices in the situation where some price labels still show the old prices.

Parel said that the department store has not yet decided how much its prices will increase. “But increase they will,” he added.

Source: BBN

Producer price indices decreased in May

According to Statistics Estonia, in May 2009 the producer price index decreased 0.5% compared to April and 2.1% compared to May 2008.

In May compared to the previous month the producer price index was more than average influenced by the decrease in prices in mining and in energy supply and by the increase in prices of the manufacture of wearing apparel. Compared to May 2008 the prices increased most in energy supply and in mining.Change in the producer price index by economic activity, May 2009

Economic activity April 2009 –
May 2009, %
May 2008 –
May 2009, %
TOTAL -0.5 -2.1
Energy supply -0.8 12.1
Mining -1.3 7.1
Manufacturing -0.5 -3.8

In May 2009 the export price index decreased 0.2% compared to April 2009 and 4.1% compared to May 2008.

In May compared to the previous month, the export price index was more than average influenced by the decrease in prices in forestry, in the manufacture of building materials and in the manufacture of metals and metal products.

In May 2009 the import price index decreased 0.6% compared to April 2009 and 7.6% compared to May 2008.

In May compared to the previous month, the import price index was more than average influenced by the decrease in prices of mineral fuels, metals and metal products and food products and beverages and by the increase in prices of electrical machinery and chemical products.

Source: Statistics Estonia

Estonia rises to 24th position in world e-readiness list

In a study of 70 countries from all around the world carried out by the Economist magazine and IBM, Estonia climbed from last year’s 28th position to 24th.
The North European countries Denmark and Sweden stand at the top of the list, with the Netherlands and Norway close at their heels. Last year’s leader, the United States, ranks 5th this year, while Lithuania ranks 32nd and Latvia 37th.
The Estonian e-readiness index is 7.28 points on a ten-point scale. Latvia scored 6.34 and Latvia 5.97 points.
Denmark was at the top of the list also in 2004-2007, but sank to 5th place last year. Lithuania has climbed from the 38th place to the 32nd this year and Latvia has kept its 37th ranking.
The e-index of most of the 70 countries studied has fallen, and only nine countries, including Estonia, have improved their index.
“The Estonian ranking in the list improved thanks to the fact that many e-solutions have been worked out and implemented by today, Riina Roosipuu, sales manager of IBM Estonia, commented Estonia’s rise in the list.
The e-readiness index measures the e-business environment by means of different factors characterising readiness of the market to apply internet-based business opportunities.
The index is calculated on the basis of more than a hundred criteria.

Source: Estonian Review

Elcoteq to sell most of Tallinn unit to Ericsson

The Finnish electronic componets subcontractor Elcoteq will sell most of its Tallinn assembly unit to Ericsson. Elcoteq will only keep about 400 of its present staff of 1,600 in Tallinn to make special products, STT reported.

Elcoteq said that most of the staff that will pass to Ericsson will continue working at the present terms. The value if the transaction, including equipment, materials and rental of the premises, is about 30 million euros.

The deal should enter into force at the end of this July after an okay from the competition authority.

Orders to Ericsson will continue form other Elcoteq facilities.

Elcoteq January annoumned restructuring of its company in connection with the cooling of the global economy.

Source: Estonian Investment and Trade Agency
investinestonia.com

Estonia’s Elion cooperates with Russian telecom

Elion, a subsidiary of Eesti Telekom, Friday signed a cooperation agreement with one of the biggest Russian telecom companies, Synterra CJSC.

Elion board chairman Valdur Laid said the agreement would create a favorable ground for the export of services and international cooperation in the telecom sector.

CEO of Synterra, Vitaly Slizen, said that he was surprised how far Estonia had come in the development of its information society and he could see a real opportunity for cooperation.

Elion and Synterra launched cooperation in the sphere of communication services export, which will give Estonian Internet users faster access to Russian Internet resources and the other way round. In the next phase the companies are planning to cooperate in the IP services sphere.

The Synterra Group includes Synterra, PeterStar, Synterra Ural, Synterra South, Global Teleport, Teleport SPb and several other regional telecommunication providers. The consolidated revenue of the group in 2008 was higher than 527 million dollars.

Source: Investinestonia.com
Estonian Investment and Trade Agency

Capacity of wind farms set to rise to 200 Megawatts by 2012

The combined size of the projects currently under way is big enough for the total capacity of wind farms in Estonia to be raised to 200 megawatts by the year 2012, the head of the Wind Energy Association said on Monday.
An aggregate capacity of namely this size is called for by the national development plan for electric energy, said the association’s Board Chairman Martin Kruus.
The national capacity, which now stands at 80 megawatts, is planned to rise to 200 megawatts by 2012 and to 900 megawatts by 2018.
Kruus, manager of the company OÜ Nelja Energia, said that the capacity of wind farms run by Nelja Energia will increase by 30-50 megawatts this year.
The national power company Eesti Energia is about to open its 39-megawatt, 900-million-kroon Aulepa wind farm on Tuesday.
Compared with the 900 megawatt capacity planned for the entire sector by 2018, applications for the linkup of wind generating facilities have been filed with the national power network company for a capacity of 3,000 megawatts.
“There are more plans than actually work out,” Kruus explained.
Of the planned capacity of 900 megawatts, 400 megawatts would be provided by land based wind farms and 500 megawatts by offshore farms.

Source: Estonian Review

EBRD invests 19 MEUR in the wind farm

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development announced an investment of 18.85 million euros in the wind farm developer Freenergy AS.
The EBRD will acquire a 35% stake in Freenergy, thereby supporting the company’s plans for further development of the existing wind farms and construction of new ones.
Member of Freenergy’s supervisory board Kalle Kiigske told BNS that the EBRD, Freenergy and the owners of the latter concluded on Wednesday an agreement on expanding the company’s capital.
Freenergy has at present 15 wind farm projects, whose development is directed by Nelja Energia OU. Eleven projects are situated in Estonia, three in Latvia and one in Lithuania.
The combined capacity of the completed wind farms will be 330 megawatts, nearly tripling the capacity of farms currently in operation in the Baltic states. They will cover around 3% of the Baltic countries’ electricity demand.
Development of wind farms will reduce the Baltic states’ dependence on imports and help them meet European Union requirements of renewable energy usage, the EBRD observed. The Freenergy wind farms will also help reduce the shortage of electricity after the shutdown of the Ignalina nuclear power plant in Lithuania.

Source: Estonian Review

Last year average wage below 13,000 kroons

According to Statistics Estonia, in 2008, the average monthly gross wages and salaries were 12,912 kroons and the hourly gross wages and salaries were 77.52 kroons. Compared to 2007, the average monthly gross wages and salaries increased by 13.9% and the average hourly gross wages and salaries by 15.3%.

The growth of real wages, which took into account the influence of the change in the consumer price index, was only 3.2%. Since 1993, the growth of real wages has been so small twice — in 1993 (2.3%) and in 1996 (2.1%).

Compared to 2007, the average monthly gross wages and salaries increased the most in forestry (24.2%), education (20.5%) and in health and social work (20,0%). The monthly gross wages and salaries increased the least in construction (7.7%); transport, storage and communication (9.2%) and in manufacturing (12.1%).

Compared to 2007, the average hourly gross wages and salaries increased the most in forestry (27.5%), health and social work (21.4%) and in education (21.1%). The hourly gross wages increased the least in construction (10.3%); transport, storage and communication (10.8%) and in financial intermediation (12.1%).

In 2008, the employer’s average monthly labour costs per employee were 17,416 kroons and the average hourly labour costs were 116.68 kroons. Compared to 2007, the average monthly labour costs per employee increased 14.3% and the average hourly labour costs per employee increased 15.5%.

Compared to 2007, the average monthly labour costs per employee increased the most in forestry (33.4%) and the least in construction (8.2%).

Compared to 2007, the average hourly labour costs increased the most in forestry (38.1%) and the least in transport, storage and communication (10.6%).

Statistics Estonia conducts the survey of wages and salaries statistics on the basis of international methodology since 1992. In 2008, the sample included 11,089 enterprises, institutions and organisations. The average monthly gross wages and salaries have been given in full time units to enable a comparison of different wages and salaries, irrespective of the length of working time. Calculations of the monthly gross wages and salaries are based on payments for actually worked time and remuneration for time not worked. The hourly gross wages and salaries do not include remuneration for time not worked (holiday leave pay, benefits, etc.). In short term statistics, the average gross wages and salaries are measured as a component of labour costs. Labour costs include gross wages and salaries, employer’s contributions and employer’s imputed social contributions to employees.

Average monthly gross wages and salaries, 1st quarter 2005 – 1st quarter 2009 (kroons)

  Year 1st quarter 2nd quarter 3rd quarter 4th quarter
2005 8 073 7 427 8 291 7 786 8 690
2006 9 407 8 591 9 531 9 068 10 212
2007 11 336 10 322 11 549 10 899 12 270
2008 12 912 12 337 13 306 12 512 13 117
2009   12 147      

Average monthly gross wages and salaries and monthly labour costs per employee, 2008

 

Average hourly gross wages and salaries and hourly labour costs, 2008

Source: Statistics Estonia 

MPs approve plan to increase VAT to 20 pct

MPs voted yesterday evening to increase VAT rate from the current 18 percent to 20 percent, writes Äripäev.

In the second reading, 54 MPs were in favour with 43 against.  The third reading that is expected also to approve the raise in the excise duties of fuel and alcohol and cut sickness benefits will take place today. According to the government, the 2 pct raise of VAT rate will bring 800 million kroons extra into the budget revenues. Opposition has said that raising a VAT rate would sharply push up price consumer goods and make Estonia more similar to Latvia.

Source: BBN