Energy security ensured by oil shale power

Põlevkivikaevandus.

PHOTO: Tairo Lutter / Virumaa Teataja

Thanks to prudent policy and investment abilities of Eesti Energia, Estonia is producing twice the amount of energy it consumes. Oil shale is among the environmentally dirtiest fuels and burning it is becoming ever more expensive due to EU CO2 policy.

Nevertheless, Estonia has had the guts to keep its oil shale power stations going, and even building a new one in Auvere. Meaning: with the darkest of scenarios, we will at least keep afloat with heat and light.

In the Soviet times, Estonia’s electricity system was built to the same frequency with Russia and Belarus, and Russia is still holding us fixed at it. Successfully, however, Eesti Energia has tested keeping our electricity system going independent of Russia. It works.

Even so, disconnecting Estonia is unavoidably dearer than operating as part of a larger system. Unlike the Latvia and Lithuania suffering under electricity deficit, Estonia has done no electricity trade with Russia.

After the two undersea Estlink cables were completed, we are linked to Finland and, via that, with the Nordic electricity exchange. The sea cables serve to guarantee Estonia’s supply security while allowing for best electricity price from the exchange. On Elering’s website, anyone may have a real-time look at statistics regarding production, consumption, and cross-border movements of electricity. At the time this article was being written, 1,291.8 MW of electrical energy were being produced in Estonia while 1,006.8 MW were being consumed.

It appears that, meanwhile, electricity transit was happening from Finland to Latvia, as Estlink1 was bringing in 336 MW of electric energy and the same amount passed on from Estonia to Latvia. Surplus production in Estonia, however, went to Russia.

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