In the first quarter of this year one and a half times as much renewable energy was produced in Estonia as a year ago, reaching 254 GWh. Three new wind turbines in the Aulepa windpark were connected to the Elering grid, bringing the total capacity of wind energy in the Estonian electricity system to nearly 157 MW.
Most importantly, the amount of electricity generated from wind energy has increased by 70% from 60 GWh to 102 GWh, while electricity generation from waste and biomass increased by 38% from 105 GWh to 145 GWh. In total, renewable energy production was enough to cover 11% of Estonian electricity consumption in the first quarter of the year, up from 7% in the same period a year earlier.
Chair of the Elering board Taavi Veskimägi said that the amounts of electricity generated from renewable sources in the first quarter show that the development of renewable energy is progressing well in Estonia, especially given that the share of total electricity consumption that was covered from renewable sources in 2010 was more than half as much again as the requirements demanded. “In the light of the general aims of European energy policy this is certainly a good thing, although the development of renewable energy can’t help but pose a threat to security of supply if it is not accompanied by the development of traditional power stations. This issue is particularly relevant in the Estonian context as the oil shale power plants are due to close in 2016. In order to ensure that new power stations are built, a favourable investment climate must be created not only for renewable energy but also for traditional power stations,” he added.
The cause of the growth in production from wind turbines was the start up of new windparks like the third park at Virtsu, the Tooma windpark and stages two and three of the Aulepa windpark. The total capacity of wind turbines in the Estonian electricity system is 157 MW. New connection contracts that have been signed with windpark developers for building turbines in Estonia covered a capacity of 844.2 MW by the end of the first quarter.
The increase in generation from biomass is mainly due to the arrival of a new producer in Pärnu and an increase in the amount of biomass burned in the Tallinn Väo power station and the Narva plants.
The total amount of electricity generated from hydro power rose by 48% from the 5 GWh of the first quarter of 2010 to almost 8 GWh.
Applications for the renewable energy subsidy for the first quarter of 2011 totalled more than 12 million euros, and applications for the subsidy for efficient CHP generation were around 1.5 million euros. These figures are 54% and 19% higher respectively than those of a year ago.