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Experts: Estonia needs forward-looking energy policy

Estonian news - eteap January 29, 2013

Baltic News Service, 29.01.2013

Estonia needs a forward-looking energy policy that will create opportunities for the use of diverse production capacities in the future, experts said at the Energy Trilemma conference on Tuesday.

The Economy and Communications Ministry’s deputy secretary general for energy, Ando Leppiman, said the state’s energy policy ought to look further ahead. “The long-term plan can be that we do not hinder development activity but create options so that at a certain point of time, when the market conditions are propitious or there are favorable investments, we are ready to use them rather than start creating conditions for this.” Options could be prepared for example for building an offshore wind park or a pumped-storage hydroelectric power plant, he said.

“Our energy sphere is advancing beyond infancy and we no longer have classical renewable energy and classical fossil energy,” Leppiman said. “The question is which electricity production capacities to use in the future and whether any plants need to be built in Estonia at all.”

In his words, the national energy policy ought to focus in a balanced way on three main goals – ensuring of supply reliability, environmental policy and favorable price of electricity.

CEO of the wind energy developer Nelja Energia Martin Kruus said the energy development plan in preparation should put more emphasis on the reasons behind one or another decision. “This idea of options is very good in that it helps clarify what the domestic possibilities are and what opportunities there are for cooperation with neighbors,” he observed.

Kruus said Estonia’s energy policy depends on neighbors because domestic consumption is very small in the Nordic context. “We should talk this through with the Norwegians and the Swedes. If they plan to export electricity in the future we ought to find out whether anyone is ready to supply electricity to us in the future.”

Kruus also underlined the importance of energy cooperation between the public and the private sector, referring to the much-debated amended energy market law that still has not been adopted. “In order to have options in the future, agreements concerning investments that already have been made ought to be adhered to, thereby this particular option can be used in the future as well. If the state makes a decision that breaks earlier promises it will be remembered – this will be expressed in the price of capital or, at the worst, in the availability of capital.”

The chairman of the board of the Tallinn Power Plant, Andres Taukar, said a long view is needed in planning as well because this is a very capital-intensive activity. In the absence of a long-term picture there is no certainty about how to invest in this sphere.


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