Statistics: Electricity generation becoming more environmentally friendly

Electric lines.
Electric lines. Source: Reuters/Scanpix

According to state agency Statistics Estonia, in 2019, the production of electricity totaled 7,560 gigawatt-hours, which is 39 percent less than in the previous year. Electricity production from oil shale decreased by 46 percent over the same period.

Helle Truuts, analyst at Statistics Estonia, said the decrease in electricity production in 2019 was influenced by lower consumption of oil shale in power plants, which in turn shows a clear shift towards more environmentally friendly production. "76 percent of electricity was produced from oil shale in 2018, but in 2019, the share was only 57 percent," Truuts said.

Electricity imports increased to ensure stable domestic electricity consumption. Compared to the previous year, 40 percent more electricity was imported from Nordic countries, accounting for 86 percent of total electricity imports. At the same time, electricity exports nearly halved over the period. Exports to Latvia accounted for 76 percent of the total exports.

Electricity production from renewable sources has been increasing year after year. In 2019, compared to 2018, there was a 5 percent increase. Wind power production, accounting for a third of the production of renewable energy, increased 8 percent year-on-year. The production of electricity from wood fuels and biogas also increased significantly. The production of electricity from wood fuels increased by 4 percent year-on-year and accounted for nearly two-thirds of the production of renewable energy.

Electricity and heat are increasingly produced in cogeneration. Although production volumes remained the same year-on-year, the amount of electricity produced from biomass increased by 30 percent. In the last five years, the share of electricity produced in cogeneration in total electricity production has remained around 10–12 percent, but in 2019, it was already 20 percent.

In 2019, the production of oil shale was 15.9 million tonnes, which is 38 percent less than in the previous year. The majority of oil shale is consumed in power plants and as raw material for shale oil. Shale oil production was 1.1 million tonnes and most of it was exported; the main destination countries were the Netherlands, Denmark and the U.S.

The production of wood pellets, which have found a place as an important type of fuel on the energy market, continues to grow. In 2019, nearly 1.6 million tonnes of wood pellets were produced, which is nearly a fifth more than the year before. Due to the continued demand in the external market, most of the production was exported. The main destination countries were Denmark, Belgium and the Netherlands.


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Editor: Roberta Vaino

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