Estonia chooses artists to get on state payroll for next 3 years

Estonia is to pay a 1001-euro monthly salary in 2016-2018 to artists Kaido Ole, Marge Monko, Kris Lemsalu, Mark Raidpere and Anu Vahtra.

When assessing an application, the committee appointed by the Estonian Artists’ Association mainly took into consideration a candidate’s creation plan for the next three years, education or experience, and creation in the past years, among other things.

A total of 73 applications were submitted to the association by the deadline.

The salary will be provided by the Estonian Artists’ Association in cooperation with the Ministry of Culture.

Source: Baltic News Service via Estonian Review

University students campaign drinking tap water

The project Võta kraanist! (or Take it from the Tap), which was initiated this spring with the help of the University of Tartu and the Estonian Environmental Investment Centre, celebrates installing 34 high water taps in the University of Tartu buildings. The last water tap will be officially opened on 18 December at 14:00. University of Tartu’s Rector Professor Volli Kalm will open the event with a welcoming speech and everyone will get the chance to change their regular plastic bottle for a brand new reusable Võta kraanist! water bottle.

Simple math shows that tap water is up to 600 times more environmentally friendly than drinking bottled water. “Every litre of drinking water I take from the tap saves the equivalent of 1 kg of oil shale worth of energy,” said Kristjan-Julius Laak from the Võta kraanist! team.

As part of the project, more than 2 000 reusable water bottles have been distributed and less than a thousand are still to be distributed. Taking into consideration that an average person drinks 52 litres of bottled water annually, if 2 000 people started using their water bottles, they have already saved up to 2.4 GWh worth of energy. This is the amount of electric energy that the city of Tartu would have to pay for in a month and a half.

Lauri Tammiste from the Estonian Environmental Investment Centre said that the ingenuity of this project is in its simplicity. “Access to pure drinking water is a UN human right. This project reminds people to use this right,” he adds, explaining why the project won the Negavatt scholarship by the Centre.

Tests have shown that Tartu tap water is chemically very similar to world famous bottled water brands, such as Evian. “The employees and students at the University of Tartu have adopted the idea of drinking tap water very well,” said University of Tartu’s Rector Volli Kalm.

The event marks completing the goals set in the university, but it is not the end of the project. “We have already started cooperation with a couple of companies, who have contacted us to join our project,” said Laak. He says that Võta kraanist! helps everyone who is interested in promoting tap water to do it with prints and know-how.

Source: TARTU UNIVERSITY via Estonian Review

Wind energy producers received 32.2 mEUR support in 2015

While in 2014 the Estonian state-owned transmission system operator Elering paid out 26.3 million euros of wind energy support, in 2015 the paid sum is to be around 32.2 million euros.

Last year support was paid for 489 gigawatt-hours of wind energy produced. Elering CEO Taavi Veskimagi said on Monday that by Christmas a record amount of 600 GWh of wind energy had been produced in Estonia this year and by the end of the year the amount should exceed 700 GWh.

By the end of November Elering had paid out renewable energy support for 530 GWh of wind energy. Pursuant to the Electricity Market Act renewable energy support can be paid for up to 600 GWh of wind energy per year which means that no support will be paid for the excess wind energy produced.

Source: Baltic News Service via Estonian Review

Iconic Balti Jaam market goes under renovation

The iconic Balti Jaam market, named after Tallinn’s central railway station next door, will move to a new location until spring 2017, when renovation work on the old site should be complete.

The outdoor market will close on January 1 and reopen at the beginning of February at Telliskivi 62, a few hundred meters away from the current location. An outdoor food court is also planned next to the location. As part of the food court project, an old train carriage will be turned into a dining car.

Head of the Balti Jaam market, Andres Rjabov, said the limestone walls will be kept intact but a roof will be built over the currently open-air market. The new market will have three stories and an underground floor.

He said much will remain the same, such as the sale of fruits, vegetables, clothes and antiques, but improvements will also be made, such as the addition of a beer hall and modern street food stalls.

By spring of 2017, a new modern market complex should be complete.

The market is popular among tourists and locals alike, having seen very little renovation work since the Soviet period. Besides vegetables, fruit and other food, one can also buy Soviet-era antiques.

Source: ERR via Estonian Review


Completed Mars house presented in Strasbourg

Now that all partners from five countries—Estonia, France, Austria, Belgium and Czech Republic—have filled their part in building the Mars house, constructed for extreme living conditions, the self-erecting house with a unique design is complete. It is very likely that it will be used in future space related experiments.

The international Mars house project began at the beginning of 2013 and Estonians were given a task of great responsibility—creating the technology of the self-erecting house. In January 2015, researchers of the University of Tartu Institute of Technology finished their part of the project and sent the house, which packs and unpacks itself within a few minutes, to France where partners continued to install the interior and life-providing systems.

By now the house, which was named after the challenging living conditions on planet Mars, is complete and it was presented on 15 December in Strasbourg in France at the International Space University. Mars house project manager at UT Institute of Technology Priit Kull said that in all likelihood the Mars house will remain at the International Space University: “Starting next year, the house is on the market, so to say, and then we will see what the market wants of it.”

Kull was hopeful that after the successful completion of the Mars house, the UT team will get new opportunities to participate in similar projects. “There have been some talks, but nothing certain as of yet,” Kull implied.

In its packed form the house is a 6 metres long and 2.4 metres wide box, which weighs 6000 kg and fits on the trailer of a large truck. In a typical mission scenario, the construction can house two people for at least two weeks. The building has all the necessary rooms and its design resembles a classical home: sleeping area, kitchen, bathroom, toilet and work rooms.

Researchers of UT Institute of Technology built the Mars house in the framework of the international SHEE project. The goal of the SHEE project is to develop a planetary habitat testbed for terrestrial analogue simulations. The so called Mars house is well-suited, for example, to use on Earth in disaster areas or in extreme conditions during research work.

Additional information: Priit Kull, Mars house project manager at UT Institute of Technology

Source: UNIVERSITY OF TARTU via Estonian Review

The volume of industrial production decreased

According to Statistics Estonia, in November 2015, the production of industrial enterprises decreased 6% compared to November of the previous year. Production decreased in manufacturing, energy and mining.

While in the beginning of 2015, manufacturing production grew compared to the same month of the previous year, in the second half-year, the growth turned into decline. In September, production fell 4%, in October it fell 1%, and in November 5% compared to the corresponding month of the previous year. In November, the decline in production volume was caused primarily by a decrease in the manufacture of electronic products, where the 28% decrease was caused by the high reference base of November 2014. In November, more than half of the branches of industry did not surpass the volume of the previous year. Among the branches of industry that hold larger shares, production fell also in the manufacture of food and metal products and electrical equipment. Production rose continually in the manufacture of wood products and furniture.

70% of the whole production of manufacturing was sold on the external market in November. Compared to November 2014, the export sales of manufacturing production decreased 7% and domestic sales decreased 5%, according to unadjusted data.

In November 2015 compared to October 2015, the seasonally adjusted total industrial production fell by 3%, the volume of manufacturing production decreased 2% compared to the previous month.

Compared to November 2014, the production of electricity decreased by 18% and the production of heat by 15%.

Diagram: Volume index of production in manufacturing and its trend

Read more from Statistics Estonia

The retail sales growth decelerated to some extent

According to Statistics Estonia, in November 2015 compared to November 2014, the retail sales of goods of retail trade enterprises increased 6% at constant prices. In October, the retail sales increased 8% compared to the same month of the previous year, whereas in November the retail sales growth decelerated to some extent.

In November 2015, the retail sales of goods of retail trade enterprises were 417.7 million euros, which was 318 euros per inhabitant.

The retail sales of stores selling manufactured goods increased 11% compared to November 2014. Sales increased in most economic activities. Only the retail sales in stores selling household goods and appliances, hardware and building materials were 2% smaller than in November of the previous year and the retail sales in stores selling textiles, clothing and footwear stayed at the same level as in November 2014. Sales increased the most (37%) in other specialised stores, such as stores selling computers and their accessories, stationery, books, sports equipment, games and toys etc. A higher than average increase in retail sales occurred in retail sales via mail order or the Internet (30% growth) and in stores selling second-hand goods and in non-store retail sale (stalls, markets, direct sale) (26% growth). In November, the retail sales increased also in non-specialised stores selling predominantly industrial goods (i.e. department stores) (7% growth) and in stores selling pharmaceutical goods and cosmetics (5% growth).

In grocery stores, the retail sales growth decelerated significantly in November. While in October the retail sales of those stores increased 4% compared to the same month of the previous year, then in November the growth was 1%.

The retail sales of automotive fuel increased 8% at constant prices compared to November 2014.

In November compared to October 2015, the retail sales in retail trade enterprises decreased 6% at constant prices. According to the seasonally and working-day adjusted data, the decrease was 1%. During the eleven months (January–November) of 2015, the retail sales in retail trade enterprises increased 8% at constant prices compared to the corresponding period of 2014.

In November, the turnover of retail trade enterprises was 488.4 million euros, out of which the retail sales of goods accounted for about 86%. Compared to November 2014, the turnover increased by 2% at constant prices. Compared to the previous month, this indicator decreased 6%.

The statistics are based on the questionnaire “Turnover”, the deadline of which was 15.12.2015, and on the VAT declaration data from the Estonian Tax and Customs Board. Statistics Estonia published the monthly summary in 10 working days.

As of 2016, Statistics Estonia will start using only the VAT declaration data of the Estonian Tax and Customs Board and stop collecting data with the questionnaire “Turnover”. This will reduce the response burden of entrepreneurs and Statistics Estonia’s expenditure on data collection, and increase the use of administrative data. Due to the change in the data source, the monthly news release “Retail trade” will focus on the turnover of retail trade enterprises, instead of the retail sales of such enterprises (the first news release for 2016, “Retail trade, January 2016”, will be published on 02.03.2016). Statistics Estonia will continue publishing the retail sales indicator of retail trade enterprises on a quarterly and yearly basis.

Source: Statistics Estonia