The current, record electricity prices will barely register with one Lääne-Viru County resident, who has lived by candlelight for over 20 years and yet, thanks to the installation of his own renewable sources, also has his own electricity, investigative weekly Eesti Ekspress reports.
Ennu Kaljurand, 64, whose father was one of Estonia's famed Forest Brothers (Metsavennad) – freedom fighters who lived in the forest and fought for Estonia's independence until well into the Soviet era, while Ennu's uncle, also a forest brother, was brutally murdered by Soviet security forces in July 1945, barely a mile from his home – had been living for two decades by candle light, but now has electricity.
He is not connected to the national grid, but instead uses power generated by a combination of solar and wind energy, Eesti Ekspress reports (link in Estonian).
While Ennu's sprawling farmstead property, in Haljala, Lääne-Viru County, around 15km northwest of Rakvere, could be connected to the grid for a fee – it lies just 400 meters outside the mandatory zone which grid distributor Elektrilevi would be obliged to provide a connection – the present record high prices are hardly likely to tempt him to do that now.
The remote location means that Ennu has to be careful nonetheless, as a fire truck would not make it up the long track to the property, but he is philosophical about his lot, saying: "As the modern Arabic proverb has it 'Trust in Allah, but tie your camel', (actually from a Hadith - ed.)."
Ennu said his brother in law had the know-how on solar panels, while the first two were installed five years ago, followed by four more las summer, while the wind turbine drives the generator when the sun is low and the wind high; he keeps a record of which days the wind blew strongly – in single figures last summer but well into the double figures in autumn and winter.
As to how he feels at the moment, while the entire country, rich and poor alike, seems to have gone to the wall with the energy costs, he says: "In the past when I went to ask for electricity for myself, then there was noone to help. Now … you know … I'm glad, if I'm being honest!."
The original Eesti Ekspress article (in Estonian) is here.
Editor: Andrew Whyte