Elering is the backbone of the Estonian electricity system
Transmission System Operator Elering manages the Estonian electricity system in real time. Elering is responsible for the system’s operation and ensures the supply of high-quality electricity to consumers at all times. We create the conditions needed for the electricity market to function and we build cross-border electricity interconnections so that electricity can move freely between neighbouring systems and markets.
On the order of Elering, a study into promoting the usage of biomethane was completed as part of the preparatory work for the national action plan. The study, which was focused on the transport sector, foresaw the possibility of...
Study shows possibility for biomethane to meet three percent of transport fuel requirements in 2020
On the order of Elering, a study into promoting the usage of biomethane was completed as part of the preparatory work for the national action plan. The study, which was focused on the transport sector, foresaw the possibility of replacing three percent of the fuel used in the sector with biomethane by 2020.
“The development of biomethane gas is important for the development of the Estonian gas economy and making the energy sector more reliant on renewable sources. Although we have viewed gas as an imported fossil fuel for years, in the future gas may be much more of a local renewable fuel,” explained Chairman of the Elering Board, Taavi Veskimägi, on the importance of the field.
In order to meet the objectives suggested in the study, biomethane usage in the transport sector must increase to 36 million cubic metres. “Biomethane prices must be cheap compared with other fuels, while at the same time covering costs for biomethane producers, vehicle dealers and fuelling station operators and providing an acceptable return. In order to help bring biomethane to market, there is no alternative but the creation of support schemes that would promote both biomethane production and consumption,” noted Veskimägi.
The study proposes 12 cost-effective and practical measures to develop the biomethane market. Firstly, the economic viability of biomethane production and consumption needs to be improved, and thereafter the market must be expanded. Support is needed for the construction of biomethane fuelling stations and for the connection of biomethane producers to the gas network. At the same time, a support system for biomethane producers must be implemented in order to ensure that biomethane can compete with natural gas.
In order to allow fuel retailers to use biomethane to meet their mandated renewable energy objectives, a system for certification of origin of biomethane will have to be implemented.
In order to develop the market, all parties involved in the biomethane sector will need to be connected to a single network to support information exchange and cooperation, and thereby the formation and development of business opportunities.
A national plan for biomethane use in transport will be drafted, where objectives, rules and conditions for investment in the sector are set out. A biomethane fuel station strategy is needed in which the optimal density and locations of fuel stations are set out, among other things. According to the study, the development objectives of the biomethane market must also be taken into account during the public tender process. To this end, criteria for public transport procurement must be worked out so that vehicles running on methane are able to compete with vehicles using other fuels.
The biomethane study was carried out by ECN and Energy Valley from the Netherlands, Energiforsk of Sweden, and Estonian company Balti Biometaan. The study was prepared in close cooperation with the Estonian Ministry of Communications and Economic Affairs. The study and related materials are available on the Elering website.
The activity of exchanging electricity sellers increased last year
According to statistics provided by the Smart Grid data sharing platform administered by Elering, in 2016 electricity sellers were changed almost 26,000 times at consumption points that have electricity contracts, representing a 42 per cent increase on 2015.
On average, nearly 2,200 consumption points changed their seller every month last year, while this number was more than 1,500 in 2015.
The seller is mainly changed at the beginning of January. Since 1 January of this year, the electricity seller has been changed at almost 9,400 consumption points. A year ago, the same indicator was over 9,900 and it was almost 10,000 at the beginning of 2015.
As of the beginning of 2017, almost 580,000 consumption points have concluded a contract for buying electricity. At the moment, the number of consumption points without an electricity contract, and where electricity is used as a universal service, is approximately 140,000. In the space of a year, the number of electricity contract owners has increased by a thousand and the number of universal service users by 3,000.
Overall, there are approximately 720,000 electricity consumption points in Estonia; this number has increased by 4,000 in a year-on-year comparison.
The electricity exchange price was 34.01 euros per megawatt-hour in December and the average price over the year 33.06 euros per megawatt-hour.
According to reports from the Nord Pool Nordic electricity exchange, the average day-ahead electricity price in the Estonian price area was 34.01 euros and the average price over 2016 was 33.06 euros per megawatt-hour.
In a monthly comparison of 2016, the electricity exchange price fluctuated between 28.26 and 40.86 euros per megawatt-hour, being at its lowest in May and highest in November.
Compared to November, the electricity exchange price fell in all Nord Pool price areas in December. In Finland, the price was exactly 34 euros, in Latvia 34.18 euros and in Lithuania 34.79 euros per megawatt-hour. The whole Nord Pool system price was 31.79 euros per megawatt-hour in the last month of last year and the average price over the year was 26.91 euros per megawatt-hour.
The prices of the Estonian and Finnish price areas were equal for 731 hours in December, which is 98 per cent of the hours of the month. The Estonian and Latvian prices were equal for 94 per cent of the hours.
Power flows between Estonia and Finland were directed from Estonia to Finland for 40 per cent of the time and from Finland to Estonia for 50 per cent of the time. Between Estonia and Latvia, commercial flow was directed from Estonia to Latvia for 75 per cent of the hours.
In December, carbon dioxide emission quota prices, which influence the price of electricity production, remained at the level of the previous month and the price range of the transactions was between 4.3 and 6.54 euros per tonne.
According to the power futures of the last trading day of December on the Nasdaq OMX market, the electricity exchange price in Estonia is expected to be 43.55 euros per megawatt-hour in January.
Elering’s auction profit for cross-border distribution was over 630,000 euros last month.
Electricity consumption increased by 11 per cent, production by 40 per cent in November
According to provisional data, electricity consumption increased by 11 per cent in a year-on-year comparison, reaching 794 gigawatt hours this November. One of the reasons for the increase is the lower air temperature in comparison with last year.
At the same time, electricity production increased by 40 per cent, reaching 1,083 gigawatt hours. Production exceeded consumption by 290 gigawatt hours and electricity exported from Estonia moved mainly to Finland.
In November, 138 gigawatt hours of electricity was produced from renewable resources, which is one per cent more in a year-on-year comparison. Renewable energy covered 15.4 per cent of domestic consumption last month.
In Latvia, 815 gigawatt hours of electricity was produced this November, 43 per cent more compared to last year. The last time Latvia produced more electricity was in April 2011 when production reached 943 gigawatt hours. Production was increased by substantially greater hydropower resource, which quadrupled the production of Daugava hydro power plant cascade. In Latvia, electricity consumption increased by five per cent; therefore, the electricity balance was in surplus with 168 gigawatt hours in November.
In Lithuania, electricity production increased by 36 per cent, reaching 329 gigawatt hours, and consumption by seven percent, reaching 891 gigawatt hours. In Lithuania, electricity balance deficit decreased and local power plants managed to cover 37 per cent of the consumption.
This November, the gross electricity production of the Baltic countries increased by 40 per cent, reaching 2,226 gigawatt hours in a year-on-year comparison. The increase in production was largely caused by the deficit of the Nordic countries and the abundance of water in Latvia. In the comparison of the same period, electricity consumption increased by eight per cent, reaching 2,332 gigawatt hours. The deficit of the three countries decreased from the 580 gigawatt hours last year to 106 gigawatt hours this year. The deficit totalled five per cent of electricity consumption.
In the Nordic countries, electricity production increased by two percent and consumption by seven per cent. Electricity production decreased by three per cent in Sweden, remained stable in Norway, increased by 23 per cent in Denmark and increased by nine per cent in Finland. Electricity consumption rose in all four countries. The increase in consumption and lower hydro reservoir content took the electricity balance of the Nordic countries to a deficit by 964 gigawatt hours.
Natural gas imports increased by a third in November
In November, the amount of gas imported to Estonia increased by almost one third compared to last year, reaching 59.73 million cubic metres. The sharp increase was caused by colder weather conditions in comparison with last year.
In November, balance providers imported gas via the Karksi and Värska border crossing points, with the amount of natural gas that reached Estonia ranging between 1.4 and 2.6 million cubic metres per twenty-four-hour period. In Elering’s estimation, natural gas shipped from Lithuania totalled 6.25 per cent of the imports.
In Lithuania, the price of natural gas traded on the GET Baltic gas exchange ranged between 17.5 and 20.0 euros per megawatt-hour last month. The comparable price range on the Finnish Kaasupörssi remained between 15.3 and 26.8 euros per megawatt-hour.
In a yearly calculation, the transmission service rendered by Elering also increased last month by almost a third, reaching 59.31 million cubic metres. The majority of this – 86 per cent – went to the account of the biggest gas distribution network operator, Gaasivõrgud AS.
In November, natural gas only moved in the direction of Latvia to Russia through the gas transit pipeline that passes through southeast Estonia, to a total of 0.51 million cubic metres. A year ago, the amount of transit in the same direction was 38.0 million cubic metres.
The extraction of natural gas from the Inčukalns underground gas storage facility in Latvia continued. 188.5 million cubic metres of natural gas were extracted in a month and 51.2 per cent of the capacity of the storage facility was filled by the end of the month.
As of the end of November, 460.4 million cubic metres of natural gas have been consumed in Estonia in 2016, equating to an increase of 39 million cubic metres in a year-on-year comparison.
The reserve capacity of the transmission pipeline increased by 43 per cent in a yearly calculation, and stood at 5.51 million cubic metres by the end of the month.