SDE calls on president to reject 'wood-burning law'

SDE MP Jevgeni Ossinovski
SDE MP Jevgeni Ossinovski Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

The opposition Social Democratic Party (SDE) has opposed a law which would allow the burning of more woody biomass felled from Estonia's forests, in power stations in eastern Estonia. The party says the policy will harm the environment, means that consumers will effectively be subsidizing the practice and is unconstitutional.

During voting on amendments to the relevant legislation at the Riigikogu Wednesday which would allow the burning of woody biomass in power stations based in Narva, SDE MP Jevgeni Ossinovski said that the development would lead to a rise in felling volumes and is happening at a time of rising electricity prices.

Ossinovski said: "As this also comes at the cost of destroying the environment, it is fundamentally wrong."

"What is incredible is that the increase in the price of electricity was also supported by Isamaa and EKRE, who at the same time talk about the need to lower the price of electricity, he continued.

An additional two million solid cubic meters of wood per year can now be burned as a result of the law, around a fifth of today's felling volumes, Ossinovski said.

He also called the law unconstitutional and called on President Kersti Kaljulaid not to give it her assent to it. The president, who leaves office in less than two weeks, sent an unrelated bill back to the Riigikogu on Tuesday, in line with her powers as head of state.

Estonia's oil shale sector is already under fire due to its conflict with EU climate change policies. Many shale-burning power stations can run on low-grade woody biomass instead, but this too runs counter to the green turn, though back in the 1990s wood was seen as an environmentally friendly, renewable fuel source.

Amendments to the Electricity Market Act passed their third and final reading at the Riigikogu on Wednesday (link in Estonian).


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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