No. 21




Estonian energy sector is based on Soviet achievements

  • Anto Raukas, Professor

    Member of the Estonian Academy of Sciences, Editor-in-Chief of the international journal Oil Shale

Sustainability in Estonian energy sector is based on oil shale industry and mainly on the Baltic and Estonian power plants that were built in Soviet time.

Pursuant to European Union environmental requirements and the conditions of Estonia’s accession to the EU, it will not be possible to use pulverized firing of oil shale after 2015. Analyses have shown that the negative aspects of oil shale energy could be most significantly reduced by transition from pulverized combustion technology to circulating-fluidized-bed combustion technology. After installation of two 215MW units with new boilers in Narva Power Plants, emission of carbon dioxide, nitrogen and sulphur compounds has been reduced substantially. Unfortunately, installation of two other 300MW units has been suspended which means that Estonian energy supply will face a number of serious problems in coming years. If we do not invest in energy sector rapidly and if we fail to use opportunities to diversify our energy portfolio with nuclear energy, then we will have serious problems with energy supply and the price of energy may rise by several times the current price. Even high-priced electricity may not suffice.

Estonia lacks means for large-scale import of electricity, nor is there a good source in neighbouring countries. Thus, we will have to provide our own energy in the decades ahead and in spite of wider use of alternative energy sources, kukersite oil shale (resources of which are abundant) will remain the backbone of our power generation until a nuclear plant is built. We expect much of Estonia’s energy specialists, but educating energy specialists and supporting research in this field is as of yet a neglected area. Without a strong professional cadre of energy specialists, progress in this, the most important sector for the state, is impossible.

Full article in Estonian