Eesti Energia's CO2 emissions decreased by half last year as the company reduced its electricity production from oil shale after an increase in European Union carbon quota prices and competition from Russian electricity production.
"In 2019, the price of a CO2 quota increased to €30 per tonne, and unfair competition from Russian electricity in the regional electricity market led to less access for shale-based electricity to the market", the company said in a press release summing up its 2019 results. As a result, direct burning of oil shale into electricity decreased.
Estonia's total CO2 emissions decreased by about a quarter over the year after the Eesti Energia emissions decrease, the company said.
Chairman of the Management Board of Eesti Energia Hando Sutter said: "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."
Eesti Energia's renewable energy output tripled during the year, mostly coming from subsidiary Enefit Green, the largest wind energy producer in the Baltic States. Renewable energy production also increased in Ida-Viru County's thermal power plants, where the company produces electricity from wood waste. There are also plans to develop Tootsi Wind Farm if they succeed in acquiring the land in the auction.
At the same time, Eesti Energia's production of liquid fuels reached record levels. As, oil production emits three times less CO2 into the air than electricity production, Eesti Energia's future plan is to build a new oil plant based on Enefit technology by 2024.
The European Union is setting a target of reducing carbon emissions by 50-55 percent by 2030 compared to 1990, but Estonia is ahead of that ambition and has already reduced its emissions by nearly 65 percent.
Editor: Helen Wright