In the first quarter of this year, Estonian power plants produced 424 gigawatt-hours of renewable energy and renewable energy comprised 15.8 per cent of total electricity consumption in Estonia, almost three per cent more in a year-on-year comparison.
In the first quarter of last year, renewable energy comprised 13 per cent of total consumption and 17.8 per cent during the same period in 2015. This year, Estonia has set 15.2 per cent as the reference level for the share of renewable energy.
In the first quarter, wind energy comprised 44.9 per cent of total renewable energy production and, due to favourable wind conditions, the 191 gigawatt-hours of wind energy produced was an increase by a third in comparison to the same period last year.
From January to March, Elering paid 8.2 million euros in subsidies for wind energy, 17 per cent more in a year-on-year comparison. 80 per cent of the total wind energy produced was subsidised and a quarter of the wind energy subsidies planned for the year were paid out during the quarter.
In the first quarter, 53 per cent of renewable energy production came from electricity produced from biomass, biogas and waste. 225 gigawatt-hours of electricity were produced from these fuel sources in the three-month period. In the first quarter of last year, production was almost 20 per cent lower, but the average air temperature was also higher at the beginning of last year; therefore, the workload of combined heat and power plants was probably smaller. Electricity produced from biomass, biogas and waste received 10 million euros in subsidies in the first quarter of this year.
In the first quarter of this year, eight gigawatt-hours of electricity were produced from hydro energy and 231,575 euros were paid out in subsidies.
The number of solar panel owners receiving subsidies is still increasing rapidly. Currently, over 700 producers are producing electrical energy with solar panels, including private persons as well as more powerful solar power plants belonging to commercial enterprises. In the first quarter of this year, the amount of electrical energy produced from solar panels and transferred to the grid totalled 418 megawatt-hours. Due to solar panels added, this indicator has doubled in a yearly comparison. As most of the solar energy produced is being consumed by the micro producers themselves on the spot, then the overall amount of electricity produced from solar panels may in fact be four to five times bigger than the subsidised amount.
In the first quarter, Elering paid renewable energy subsidies in the amount of 18.6 million euros for 345 gigawatt-hours of electricity. In financial calculations, the amount of renewable energy subsidies increased by 16 per cent in comparison with the first quarter of last year. More information on renewable energy subsidies can be found here.
In the first quarter of this year, subsidies for the production of efficient combined heat and power were slightly less than at the same time last year – 1.2 million euros. 38 gigawatt-hours of electricity were produced through combined heat and power.
Electricity consumers finance subsidies for renewable energy and efficient combined heat and power through the renewable energy fee. In the first quarter, Elering collected 23.2 million euros of this fee.