Record amount of wind energy produced in first half year

Extraordinary stability of windy weather in the first half of this year enabled the state-owned energy company Eesti Energia to produce a record amount of 124,466 megawatt-hours of wind energy during the six months, which is enough to meet the yearly consumption needs of more than 40,000 households of average size.

“We are pleased to be able to say that Estonia has reached a stage where it is able to effectively use the wind resource and produce electric energy from it in different places all over the country in an environment friendly manner,” Innar Kaasik, manager for renewable energy and small-scale CHP production at Eesti Energia, said.

Kaasik said the stability of winds this year has allowed to take the maximum out of wind power.

“Had winds taken the shape of storms, Eesti Energia would not have been able to ensure so big an output at its wind farms. It is under these kind of conditions of stable winds that we can fine-tune our equipment to yield the maximum,” Kaasik said.

Kaasik also said good wind conditions and the country’s long coastline alone would not be enough to ensure solid output if the owners of wind farms in Estonia weren’t giving proper service to their equipment.

“Where 2014 was a year poorer in wind than years here on the average, 2015 has made up for it in all respects,” he said. “Wind farms of Eesti Energia produced 124,466 megavatt-hours of electric energy during the first six months, which is more by a quarter than in the first half of 2014. By way of example, an amount of electric energy like this is consumed by 41,488 households of average consumption in a year.”

Increased production of wind energy makes it possible to save Estonian oil shale for high value-added activities, such as production of shale oil. The amount of wind energy generated during the first six months of the year is equal to the amount that can be produced by burning 146,430 tons of oil shale and releasing 117,144 tons of carbon dioxide into the air. More than 100,000 barrels of shale oil can be produced from 146,430 tons of oil shale.

Eesti Energia is the second largest wind energy producer in Estonia. The state-owned company has four wind farms, located respectively in Narva, Aulepa, Virtsu and Paldiski.

Source: BNS via Estonian Review

Electricity production decreased last year

According to Statistics Estonia, in 2014, the production of electricity totalled 12.4 terawatt-hours, which is over 6% less than in the previous year. Electricity production  from renewable sources increased nearly 13% compared to 2013.

The main reason for decreased production was the possibility to import cheaper electricity from the Nordic countries. Import from Finland grew 1.5 times in 2014 compared to the year before and represented more than 97% of total energy imports. At the same time, due to slightly colder weather conditions, the inland consumption of electricity increased more than 1% year over year.

The introduction of renewable sources has reduced the importance of oil shale in electricity production. In 2014 compared to 2013, the consumption of oil shale in power plants decreased nearly 5%. In 2010 over 85% of electricity was generated from oil shale, whereas in 2014 this share was 82%. As a result of increased consumption of wood in combined heat and power plants, about a half of renewable electricity was produced from biomass. The implementation of environmental projects has boosted waste treatment and has greatly increased the consumption of waste fuel and biogas for electricity generation.

With the development of new wind farms, the production of wind energy has also increased. In 2014 compared to 2013, the production of wind energy increased 14%. At the same time, there was no change in the production of hydroenergy. In six years, the share of electricity generated from renewable sources in total electricity consumption has increased more than twice, from 6.2% in 2009 to 15.3% in 2014.

In the last five years, the volume of oil shale production has increased every year, reaching 21 million tonnes in 2014, which is over 2% more compared to 2013. The majority of oil shale is consumed in power plants, but the growth in shale oil production has increased the consumption of oil shale as raw material for shale oil. In 2014 compared to 2013, the production of shale oil increased nearly 12%, whereas most of the production was exported. Nearly a third (33%) of this amount was exported to Belgium, followed by the Netherlands (20%) and Sweden (8%).

Over the last five years, the production of wood pellets has increased more than two times. Compared to 2013, the production of pellets grew nearly 25% in 2014. Over 90% of the wood pellets produced were exported – more than a half (54%) to Denmark, followed by Italy, Sweden and the United Kingdom each with about 8% of exports.

The production of peat fuels has shown a downward trend in the last five years. In 2014 compared to 2013, the volume of production did not change much.Diagram: Electricity production from renewable sources, 2003–2014

Source: Statistics Estonia

Household electricity prices in the EU rose by 2.9 pct in 2014

In the European Union (EU), household electricity prices rose by 2.9% on average between the second half of 2013 and the second half of 2014 to reach €20.8 per 100 kWh. Since 2008, electricity prices in the EU have increased by more than 30%. Across the EU Member States, household electricity prices in the second half of 2014 ranged from €9 per 100 kWh in Bulgaria to more than €30 per 100 kWh in Denmark. It cost €13.3 per 100 kWh in Estonia.

Household gas prices2 increased by 2.0% on average in the EU between the second halves of 2013 and 2014 to hit €7.2 per 100 kWh. Since 2008, gas prices in the EU have risen by 35%. Among Member States, household gas prices in the second half of 2014 ranged from just over €3 per 100 kWh in Romania to above €11 per 100 kWh in Sweden. It cost €4,9 per 100 kWh in Estonia.

Taxes and levies made up on average in the EU 32% of the electricity price charged to households in the second half of 2014, and 23% of the gas price.

When expressed in purchasing power standards (PPS), an artificial common reference currency that eliminates general price level differences between countries, it can be seen that, relative to the cost of other goods and services, the lowest household electricity prices were found in Finland (12.4 PPS per 100 kWh) and Latvia (13.7).

Read more from Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union

Eesti Energia starts synchronization of Auvere power plant

Construction of a new 300 megawatt power plant at Auvere has reached the point where the plant will be synchronized with the Estonian power grid and the first amount of electric energy provided to the grid, Eesti Energia, the state-owned power group that owns the plant, said.

“If everything goes as planned, electricity produced at the Auvere power plant will reach the grid for the first time in spring this year. Right now the plant’s principal equipment is being fine-tuned and various systems of the generating unit tested,” Eesti Energia spokesperson Eliis Vennik said, adding that given the time consuming nature of the things to be done work to launch the plant is estimated to continue until the end of the year.

The 300 megawatt power plant will run on oil shale, which can be substituted with biofuel up to a ratio of half and half. The testing period, during which output capacity will remain in the range of 0 to 270 megawatts, will last until Nov. 5.

The plant is being built by Alstom and the total cost of the project is 640 million euros.

Source: BNS via Estonian Review

Renewable energy made is 15 pct of the Estonian energy pie

Renewable energy made up 14.8 percent of the Estonian energy pie last year, which is 2.2 percent more than in 2013.

Estonia is on track for meeting its obligation of 17.6 percent renewable energy slice by 2020.

Although domestic production fell by close to 6 percent in 2014, 1.38 terawatt-hours were generated from renewable sources – 18 percent more than in 2013.

The quantity of subsidized renewable power reached 1.1 terawatt-hours last year, which meant a 12 percent increase in the pay-outs, to 60 million euros.

Fifty-six percent of the renewable energy output came from biomass, biogas and waste – 753 GWh came from these sources, up by about a quarter. The subsidies for this amount equalled 32.3 million euros, up 2.2 million euros from the year before.

Wind energy accounted for 42 percent of renewables in 2014, and output was up 9 percent compared to 2013. Average wind speed readings at Pakri and Virtsu were up 23 percent. As a result, subsidies increased by 20 percent to 26.3 million euros.

The ceiling for subsidized wind energy in the Electricity Markets Act – 600 GWh in a calendar year – was not reached, however.

The biggest growth compared to 2013 was in solar energy – volume of energy generated grew from 117 MWh to 524 MWh, with subsidies increasing at the same time more than quadruple rate, amounting to 28,000 euros. Solar energy still makes up a marginal amount of the overall energy picture, of course, with most of the 175 producers being micro-producers.

Source: ERR News via Estonian Review

Estonia’s 2016-2030 oil shale development plan

The draft of the Estonian national oil shale development plan for 2016-2030 says oil shale mining in Estonia will remain capped at 20 million tons per year and it will be necessary to set up one or two new mines during the years covered by the development plan.

The list of mineral deposits in the Estonian Environment Register shows the size of oil shale stocks at 4.75 billion tons of which active stocks amount to 1.34 billion tons. Leaving aside areas currently covered by restrictions, active stocks will suffice for roughly 48 years if the annual extraction limit is left at 20 million tons, the Environment Ministry said.

The development plan names effective and sustainable use of oil shale as a mineral deposit important for Estonia and reducing the sector’s environmental impact as paramount. Another objective set out in the development plan is ensuring the oil shale sector’s sustainable development and supply of oil shale considering economic, security and social goals, the ministry said.

Implementation of the development plan is estimated to cost 20 million euros. It will be implemented based on an operational program that will be initially drafted for the years 2016–2019. The estimated cost of its measures is 3.5 million euros. Performance against the goals of the development plan will be analyzed after each five-year period to take account of changes in technologies, market situation, environmental requirements and the revealed environmental impact.

Source: Baltic News Service through Estonian Review

EU allows producing diesel from oil shale

The European Parliament on Wednesday did not support a resolution relating to the quality of petrol and diesel fuels, meaning that the situation remains favourable for producing motor fuel from oil shale in Estonia.

“The European Parliament narrowly did not adopt the fuel quality resolution. Hence the situation favourable for Estonia will prevail,” Estonian MEP Urmas Paet said on social media.

In his remarks released earlier on Wednesday, Estonia’s Environment Minister Mati Raidma said the fuel directive being handled by the European Parliament was suitable for Estonia in its present form and would mean that motor fuels made from oil shale will be competitive in the European Union in the future.

The fuel quality directive in its present form would treat motor fuels as equal regardless of whether they have been produced from crude oil or oil shale. “Estonia has been a strong supporter of that line, it’s important for us to get an assurance that producing oil shale fuel from oil shale, which is significantly more environment friendly than producing electricity from oil shale, is acceptable for the EU market. So that it was legal and possible to sell that fuel in European Union member states,” Raidma said.

The resolution voted down by the European Parliament on Wednesday opposed the adoption of the draft Council directive as not compatible with the declared aim of the directive and called on the Commission to withdraw the draft Council directive and to submit a new one to the European Parliament’s Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety.

Source: BNS through Estonian Review


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