Speaking at the Estonian government's weekly press conference on Thursday, Minister of Justice Maris Lauri (Reform), serving as acting minister of economic affairs and infrastructure, said that ahead of a winter of extremely high energy prices, there is a lot that people and businesses alike can do to prepare, such as replace their window gaskets.
"I think we've all realized that this oncoming winter is going to be a very complicated and difficult one, including in terms of price levels," Lauri said, referring to the gas shortage and energy prices that have increased severalfold. "Despite the fact that we'll be getting an LNG [terminal] — of which I'm 90 percent sure — in order for us to cope more easily, all businesses but also people need to take action with this winter in mind."
According to the minister, many businesses and people have already taken very simple steps to save energy, but there is a great deal for businesses and people to do themselves.
"When it comes to energy savings, it's very important for us to check on what our home's energy efficiency is," Lauri suggested. "If radiators are equipped with thermostats — do they work? And are our windows sufficiently sealed? Replace the window gaskets if needed."
She said that she isn't expecting anyone to sit in a cold and dark room this winter. "It should be a normal environment — not overheated, not with all the lights everywhere left on all night where people aren't moving."
The minister did, however, admit that there is certainly a need for bigger investments as well.
"If people or also apartment associations get to that point, then various support measures exist for that," she said. "Right now, we on the state's part can offer apartment associations solar panel [installation] subsidies."
Kredex and Enterprise Estonia will be launching applications for a total of €5 million in solar panel subsidies on Monday, July 11; applications will remain open until this funding is exhausted.
"This fall, support can once again be requested for the full overhaul of apartment buildings," Lauri continued. "I'd like to recall that Kredex also provides broader info and advice on this topic."
For those living in small residential buildings, a new round of applications for energy efficiency subsidies is coming up shortly, she said. While previous rounds were open only to houses built prior to 2000, this time, it is also open to newer homes as well.
"Support can still be requested for the renovation of small residential buildings in order to install solar panels, which launched in April — there's still money left in that, which is why I recommend considering that," the minister said.
"I'd like to remind everyone that if each of us saves a little bit of energy, then ultimately we'll see pretty significant energy savings," Lauri said. "So I encourage people to think about how to do that. Small steps go a long way, and even if we can't manage to do it all this year, then the next few years are ahead too."
This June, the price of electricity reaching people's homes had increased 129.6 percent, heat energy 62.7 percent, gas 228.3 percent and solid fuels 77.3 percent on year, according to Statistics Estonia data published Thursday.
Editor: Aili Vahtla