EU could allocate €125 million to help with oil shale transition

There are three main reasons behind the slowdown. One of them lies in the weakening of the oil shale sector.
There are three main reasons behind the slowdown. One of them lies in the weakening of the oil shale sector. Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

Ida-Viru County is expected to receive approximately €125 million in European Union funding over the next seven years to help mitigate the effects of the decline of the oil shale industry.

On Tuesday, the European Commission announced its trillion-euro Green Deal which will help Europe become climate-neutral by 2050.

While it is not yet known how much funding will be allocated to Estonia in total, it is thought that €125 million will be allocated to Ida-Viru County to help with the effects of the winding-down of the oil shale industry.

Speaking on "Esimene stuudio" on Wednesday night, head of the European Commission Representation in Estonia Keit Kasemets said the funding will come from the European Union's Just Transition Fund, part of the Green Deal, which is for communities which have an industry based on fossil fuels, and that Estonia has a good chance of gaining some funding.

Kasemets said: "Estonia should receive the highest per capita transfer in the European Union from the fund, ie €95 per person, which is approximately €125 million in completely new money."

He said the whole process should not be viewed as an obligation, but rather an opportunity for Estonia to restructure its energy sector, transfer its transport sector to renewable fuels and, for example, create new momentum and economic development in Ida-Viru County.

Keit Kasemets. Source: ERR

Speaking to "Aktuaalne kaamera" (AK) on Wednesday for a feature about the funding, undersecretary of the Ministry of the Environment Kristi Klaas said: "We hope that we will be able to finance the transition to cleaner energy, promote the use of wind energy, solar energy, and see how we can compensate for the environmental damage caused in the Ida-Viru County region."

European Commissioner for Energy, and Estonia's commissioner, Kadri Simson said: "In cooperation with the municipalities of Ida-Viru County, our government is developing a plan to bring production plants to Ida-Viru County that can find opportunities because there is good infrastructure and workers."

Kasemets also told AK: "The commission's aim is to make sure climate investments are more favorable than those that do not directly support the goals of climate neutrality and thereby push both governments and the private sector to make those investments."

How many of these investments could come to Estonia is not yet clear. 

Minister of Economic Affairs Taavi Aas said: "In the case of Estonia, we are certainly talking about the insulation of houses, the transformation of the transport sector, such as electrification of the railways, certainly alternative energy sources, wind farms. This package is also very broad."

How much green investment could come to Estonia may become clearer in March when member states approve the plan. 


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Editor: Helen Wright

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