Eesti Energia halved its CO2 footprint over the year

The strategic direction of Eesti Energia to reduce the direct burning of oil shale into electricity and increase the production of liquid fuels as well as renewable energy meant that the company's carbon emissions decreased by nearly 50% in a year, the summary of 2019 revealed.

With the support of Eesti Energia, Estonia's total CO2 emissions decreased by about a quarter over the year. The European Union is setting a target of reducing carbon emissions by 50-55% by 2030 compared to 1990, but Estonia is ahead of that ambition and has already reduced its emissions by nearly 65%.

“Our local energy industry is evolving in line with the goal of carbon neutrality. We have helped Estonia become the fastest reducer of CO2 emissions in Europe. Eesti Energia will continue in this direction, and will continue to work in the name of increasing renewable energy production capacity, expanding the production of liquid fuels and developing the circular economy,” said Hando Sutter, Chairman of the Management Board of Eesti Energia.

Eesti Energia's renewable energy output tripled during the year. Major part of it was contributed by its subsidiary Enefit Green, the largest wind energy producer in the Baltic States. Renewable energy production also increased in the Ida-Viru County thermal power plants, where the company produces electricity from wood waste.

Eesti Energia sees the greatest potential for developing renewable energy in Lithuania for the coming years. There are three wind farm projects with a total capacity of 350 megawatts in the Lithuanian market development portfolio of Enefit Green. In Estonia, the company wishes to continue building the Tootsi Wind Farm, if they succeed in acquiring the land in the auction.

In 2019, the price of a CO2 quota of up to EUR 30 per tonne was seen, and unfair competition from Russian electricity in the regional electricity market led to less access for shale-based electricity to the market. As a result, direct burning of oil shale into electricity decreased nearly twice.

At the same time, Eesti Energia's production of liquid fuels reached record levels. Oil production emits three times less CO2 into the air than electricity production. Eesti Energia's further plan is to build a new oil plant based on Enefit technology by 2024 in order to meet the goal set in the National Development Plan of the Energy Sector to increase co-generation of oil, electricity and gas.

“Market forecasts showing growth in liquid fuel consumption and the improved reliability of the Enefit Oil Plant provide confidence that Eesti Energia's oil production is competitive. Developing the sector - setting up a pre-refinement plant in partnership with other oil producers that will add value to the new oil plant and its production - will generate additional revenue and increase investments in renewable energy development, that is to continue to move towards carbon neutrality,” Sutter said.

In addition to oil shale, waste tyres, which has been a major environmental problem so far, can be used for the production of oil. Eesti Energia is also studying the possibilities of producing oil from plastic waste.