Jõelähtme Municipality: local hydroelectric plants vital during crises ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

Dam at the Linnamäe hydroelectric plant in Jõelähtme.
Dam at the Linnamäe hydroelectric plant in Jõelähtme. Source: Marko Tooming/ERR

Despite the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications finding the hydroelectric plants at Linnamäe and Jägala not to be vital service providers, Jõelähtme Municipality government still wants the plants to be used to solve potential future crises.

The municipality made a proposal to the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications in May, calling for the ministry to consider using the largest hydroelectric plants in the country to generate electricity and help alleviate future crises.

On June 16, the ministry responded that the two plants do not qualify as vital service providers.

In its response, the ministry highlighted that the net capacity of a vital service provider power plant must exceed 200 megawatts and have a significant impact on the operation of the electricity system in crisis situations. The capacity of the Jägala plant is 2 megawatts, while the capacity of the Linnamäe plant is 1.2 megawatts.

The municipality has not given up, however, and on July 9, a new proposal was sent to the ministry, which was signed by Deputy Mayor Priit Põldma and member of Jõelähtme municipality council Robert Antropov.

Representatives of the Jõelähtme Municipality said the plants have practical value in regards to ensure power during potential crises, for both Jõelähtme and the country in general. The plants could be used when reserve power plants stop operating.

Antropov and Põldma referred to power outages in Saaremaa and Võru last year and also recent anomalies in electricity prices, that have been caused by interruptions in the operation of many stations and connections. According to the municipality, hydroelectricity could continue to be generated autonomously during interruptions.

Representatives of the municipality added that unlike solar and wind plants that only work in certain conditions, hydroelectric power plants are able to work at all times throughout the year.

Antropov and Põldma wrote: "Hydroelectric power plants could support one or two hospitals in Tallinn or be the source of energy for mobile communications in Tallinn. Alternatively, the plants could produce electricity for the enitre municipality, where close to 6,000 people live."

If the ministry decides against using the power plants for crisis regulation, Jõelähtme Municipality is asking for the power plants to be put to use to solve emergencies locally. For that to be possible, however, the plants located on Jägala River and Linnamäe reservoir must be preserved.

On January 10 2020, ERR News wrote that operators of a hydroelectric power station say that generation could continue legally, adding that an Environmental Board requirement for them to cease operations given the site is a protected area is not valid.

The Environmental Board said conditions allowing a Salmonidae fish spawning area on the Jägala River in Jõelähtme, east of Tallinn would effectively mean the demolition of the power plant, which itself is included on a list of cultural monuments.

Jõelähtme Municipality, the Ministry of Culture and the National Heritage Board, among others, have spoken out against stopping the damming and emptying the reservoir.

On June 17, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications said the Jägala and Linnamäe hydroelectric power plants do not qualify as vital service providers.


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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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