In Q1 of this year, Estonia’s electricity consumption was 2% higher than last year. At the same time, the amount of electricity produced in Estonia fell by 18%, primarily due to the decrease in output from shale-burning power stations.
All of the Baltic States saw a decrease in Q1 electricity production compared to last year. Overall, consumption exceeded production almost by a factor of three, with the deficit totaling nearly 2 TWh. Compared to the same period last year, Estonia’s electricity consumption for the first quarter of this year grew by 2% to 2418 GWh. This was primarily caused by proportional increases in power draws by major consumers, with the growth trend supported by a 1% increase among small consumers.
Estonia’s production volumes fell by 18% due to a decrease in output from shale-burning power stations. On the one hand, this was affected by the relatively low price level dictated by the cheap Nordic production capacity and its impact on the Estonian price area, while another factor was the introduction of new environmental measures. The beginning of 2012 saw the entry into force of new restrictions on sulfur and nitrogen emissions, which decreased the limit on SO2 emissions permitted to electricity producers to 25 000 tons per year. As a result, Estonia’s electricity exports were three times smaller than last year, and while the same period of the previous year saw no electricity imports from Finland, this year they accounted for 56% (391 GWh) of the entire electricity imports for the quarter. The decrease in production points to the fact that for many hours, Nordic electricity was cheaper than the cost of maintaining Estonian power stations operational in the current conditions.
The decrease in hydro energy on the Daugava and a low price level on the power exchanges meant that Latvia’s electricity production also fell by 26% compared to the same period last year. Latvia consumed 0.6 TWh more electricity than it produced, and nearly half of the shortfall was covered by imports from Estonia.
In Lithuania, Q1 electricity production decreased by 4% when the output of the country’s Kruonis hydro accumulating plant fell by 11%. At the same time, production at Lithuania’s thermal power plants increased considerably. Lithuania’s total output was enough to cover 41% of domestic consumption in the first quarter, resulting in 70% of all electricity being imported from third countries.
Electricity production for the Nordics as a whole grew by 7% in the first quarter, compared to the same period of last year, on the back of the highest hydro reservoir levels in recent years. Only the Finnish electricity network required energy imports in the first quarter of this year, totaling 4.6 TWh. Combined Nordic electricity exports for Q1 came to 3.5 TWh, compared to an overall deficit of 6.5 TWh a year ago.
The full report is available here (only in Estonian).