Power Grid 'to Be Weatherproof by 2025'
Tarmo Mere, director of Elektrilevi, Estonia's power distribution system operator, said 80 percent of Estonia will be covered by a weatherproof power grid by 2025.
His comments were made to ETV in the wake of the St. Jude storm that cut power to tens of thousands of customers. As of Wednesday morning, 50,000 were still without power, many in the countryside, where the operator's efforts in recent years have centered on replacing aging systems in lightly populated areas.
"Investments into the power grid are made with a 40-year cycle and we have been able to seriously invest only since a few years ago. Today the pace of investing is good - we are able to invest an average of 5 kilometres of power line and two substations each day. Considering that there are more than 60,000 kilometers of power line, this will take years.
But Mere said it would not take 40 years for the situation to become more normal. "We estimate that by 2025, 80 percent of the grid could be weatherproof. We won't have such extensive storm damage as we did today."
"A weatherproof grid means we will invest into buried cable or aerial cables, but today we don't have greater capacity to do this faster," he said.
Network fees make up about one-third of power bills and Mere said this was not a small amount.