Mölder: High price of electricity not the green turn

Tõnis Mölder (Center), current environment minister.
Tõnis Mölder (Center), current environment minister. Source: ERR

No one is thrilled by the current price of electricity that affects us all. High prices are not the green turn but rather highlight shortcomings in the energy system and policymaking, Tõnis Mölder writes in a reply to Helir-Valdor Seeder.

People's views are quick to change, which seems to be especially true for Isamaa that was only recently among the proponents of the green turn, next to the Center Party. Thinking about Isamaa leader Helir-Valdor Seeder's sudden change of heart, one needs to take a look at the calendar and looming elections.

Only recently did we stand together to promote change that will give us safer and longer-lasting products, cleaner air, a more human-friendly city space, less waste, more energy efficient buildings, lower demand for heating and fuels and greater biodiversity.

I agree with Seeder in that climate policy goals need to be feasible both in terms of their practicability and cost to society. Those are precisely the goals we will take to EU climate and energy package talks.

No one is thrilled by the current price of electricity and it affects us all. The way to address high prices is to systematically develop our energy system toward green energy and expedite recent efforts. High prices are not the green turn but rather highlight shortcomings in the energy system and policymaking.

We are about to take several important steps to boost the share of renewable energy in Estonia, including making wind power applications more attractive to locals, solving the longstanding problem of the coexistence of wind farms and air defense radars, investing in new technologies, such as hydrogen, and planning joint projects with neighbors. We are also taking steps to lower the price of electrcity in the short term.

Seeder's proposals for compensating for the high price have already been put forward by the Center Party and are being discussed in the government. As I have said before, we need to take steps to alleviate the price hike for Estonian families.

One rapid measure is freezing the electricity excise duty also for next year to prevent an additional price hike of 5 percent. A proposal to freeze the duty on diesel is also being discussed.

We want to use surplus revenue from CO2 quotas for another measure. CO2 quota revenue exceeds the forecast by around two and a half times this year which money could be used to help Estonian households.

The law would make it possible to give back some of the money to medium and low-income households. We could compensate people for the renewable energy fee that could lower their power bills by around 7 percent.

We have also turned to the European Commission. Minister of Economic Affairs and Infrastructure Taavi Aas (Center) has proposed a review of the EU CO2 quota trading system and its price policy as high environmental fees are a big component in prices.

We need to perceive both opportunities and bottlenecks when it comes to the green turn. The former need to be seized and the latter highlighted and addressed.


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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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