Renewables and repairs cause electricity prices of close to zero overnight

Electricity transmission line.
Electricity transmission line. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

The price of electricity remains high throughout the day Monday, but dropped to nearly nothing overnight. Hando Sutter, CEO of Eesti Energia, said the substantial supply of renewable energy and the renovation of the Latvian interconnector was behind the temporary, low prices.

Monday's cheapest electricity rate within the Nord Pool Estonia price zone stood at €4.86 per MWh between four and five in the morning; however, between 13:00 and 14:00 the same day the price rose to a high of €484,08 per MWh.

"This low price is the result of carbon-free electricity supply. It is made up of hydro-power, which comes primarily from the Nordic states, wind power, in addition to an increasing amount of solar energy," said Hando Sutter, CEO of Eesti Energia.

"Since usage is low over the summer, and if there is a sufficient amount of renewable energy on the market - both our own and what comes in - then pricing may be extremely low," he said.

Sutter explained that it is the availability of transmission capacity that influences the price: "That is, the amount of transmission from Sweden to Finland, as well as the amount that reaches us, after Finland, and leaves Estonia. In recent days, transmission to Latvia has been hampered due to extensive maintenance and line construction. As a result, the amount of energy traveling south from us has been reduced, and this has had a significant impact on our prices."

The current transmission capacity between Estonia and Latvia is 550 MW, which is roughly a third of the regular capacity. "In some places, the price in Latvia and Lithuania is twice as high as in Estonia," said Sutter.

According to Sutter, there has been little wind in Estonia during the past few weeks, which could lead to a decline in costs. "The overall picture, however, is that electricity prices are still very expensive, and if we look at the average, the day price in Estonia this week tends to be above €200, which is extremely high for the summer," he said.

"Unfortunately, I have no good news about overall energy costs. Prices this summer, and particularly this winter, could be extremely high," he said.

Sutter added that Narva's stations have been fully operational since November of last year, but summer maintenance is required to prepare for the winter. "Two power plants are receiving extensive maintenance at the moment, while the remaining units are operational. With different degrees of success, we will complete the repairs by November and have all the units operational for the winter as these are in high demand. Even the oldest power facilities that were not scheduled for maintenance this summer are undergoing maintenance to prevent possible winter problems," he said.


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Editor: Kristina Kersa

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