The current state of Estonian energy
In talking about Estonian energy’s potential for development, many people from different walks of life have made pronouncements in the media on what is right and what is wrong. But often the actual goal of these edifying words is lost, as is the picture of reality.
Environmental regulations set major restrictions on Estonian energy, especially in Narva power plants. The biggest problem with oil shale plants is sulphur dioxide and particulate emissions, upper limits for which are set by a Estonia-Finland treaty on sulphur emissions, a Ministry of the Environment ruling, Estonia’s environment strategy paper and an EU directive (EN/01/80) on large incinerators. The strict regulations mean it is not practical to postpone renovation of stations already underway, and opportunities for renovating at least two additional blocks should be investigated, as should the construction of new, sustainable fuel-based facilities before 2015. Proceeding from the limits in the directive, Narva’s yearly output with two renovated blocks and ten unrenovated ones will be 5340 GWh in 2008. In 2015, the expected annual average output with two renovated blocks will be 2300 GWh. In comparison, last year Narva’s stations produced 7346 GWh of electricity.
On the basis of current forecasts, Narva’s stations will not be able to fulfil all of Estonia’s demand for electricity in 2005. If we consider the Iru station as well with its yearly output of around 500 GWh, then Estonia will have great difficulty beginning in 2008 to keep customers supplied solely with domestic electricity produced by existing stations.
In setting its long-term course, Estonia must consider the experience of California and the current events in the European market. We need to understand what our objective is and what the resources are. Estonian energy’s long-term goal has three sub-goals – ensuring the integrity of equipment, fulfilling environmental requirements and increasing economic efficiency, simultaneous optimisation.