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Past year brings never-before-seen output variations for Estonian energy co

Estonian news - eteap February 6, 2016

Baltic News Service, 06.02.2016

Eesti Energia registered an eightfold difference between the maximum and minimum output of its power stations in 2015, a bigger difference than ever before in the history of the state-owned Estonian energy group.

“The electricity market offered serious challenges to electricity producers last year,” Raine Pajo, member of the Eesti Energia board responsible for power generation, said in the company’s blog.

“At Eesti Energia we set new records of undercapacity of all time. The new year on the other hand started with never-before-seen records of capacity performance,” Pajo said. “The difference between the minimum and maximum capacity was eight times in the past year.”

“Where as lately as a few years ago we produced electricity with a regulated price and at a stable capacity, after the electricity market was opened the market decides whether it pays for us to produce electricity or not. Today the volumes of electricity production vary practically as much as the market prices, reaching highs and lows they have never witnessed before,” Pajo said.

As a result of low market prices, Eesti Energia ran its power plants at a capacity of 246 megawatts on June 7 last year, a lower workload than ever before. However, the Narva oil shale fueled power plans have never come to a full standstill since their completion half a century ago, the executive added.

On Jan. 15 this year the output of the Narva plants hit 1,982 megawatts, a new record for the period since Estonia regained its independence. Together with the output of Eesti Energia’s cogeneration plants, wind farms and hydroelectric power plants total output on that day came to 2,109 megawatts, also a new high for the past 25 years.

The variability of electricity prices has forced the company to take measures to increase flexibility.

“Originally the Narva plants were built for operation as base power plants at a stable capacity. As a result of the work of engineers of Eesti Energia the plants can now be used also under conditions of a very variable electricity market, by moving capacity up to the maximum or down to the minimum as necessary,” Pajo said.

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