Helme: We need another oil shale plant, start building nuclear power plant

Martin Helme.
Martin Helme. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

Martin Helme, the leader of the Conservative People's Party (EKRE), said that the government should aim at building an additional oil shale power plant and begin constructing a nuclear power plant. Eesti Energia has to exit the Nord Pool power exchange and sell electricity directly to consumers and companies at a price of €25 per megawatt-hour.

"The owner of Eesti Energia, the minister of finance, will determine the price. And if it means a loss, it means a loss," Helme told Vikerraadio's "Uudis+" program on Tuesday. "Second, so long as a CO2 component is included in the price of electricity, it cannot become substantially less expensive. The CO2 component must be eliminated, which is also a government decision. Obviously, the government does not want to do this, as they are responsible for selling CO2 quotas and collecting revenue for the budget."

The next step for the Estonian government, Helme said, would be to decree that electricity sales to Latvia and Lithuania be restricted during specific hours, adding that it is unlikely that Latvia would subsequently restrict gas supplies to Estonia.

"We produce power; Latvia does not produce gas. It is our gas that is stored in their facilities." 

The chair of EKRE also said that Estonia has to increase its capacity for controlled production.

"We should build an additional oil shale plant and begin construction of a nuclear power plant right away, which would cover 1.5 times the current peak capacity. The plant would be operational at the start of the next decade."

Helme said that the price of electricity for Estonian people should be €25 per megawatt-hour, adding that Eesti Energia sold electricity at such a price a few years ago and they were not selling it at a loss.

"Let's say that the cost of electricity is approximately €200 per megawatt-hour and that includes a CO2 component; however, it is neither €400 nor €4000. We do not have a market economy in energy sector. We have natural monopolies. Until a few years ago, prices were regulated and it had nothing to do with communism. Monopolies should not be let to run uncontrolled while the market is failing."

Helme added that it is also important that Eesti Energia does not plan repairs at a time when consumption is high, especially during the winter.

The EKRE chair also disagreed with the presenter's ironic remark that his party has lost the initiative on energy issues to the Center Party that held a seminar on Tuesday against high energy prices.

"Taavi Aas, who served as Minister of Economic Affairs for three years and controlled the entire energy sector, including Elering, declares that the stock exchange has failed and should be abandoned. He did not accomplish anything during his time as a minister and his speech today was, consequently, not credible. We still don't know what their (Center's - ed.) actual plan is.

Ukrainians should be aided at home, not permitted to enter Estonia.

The program on Vikerraadio also devoted considerable time to Ukrainian refugees. Helme said that more than 90,000 predominantly Russian-speaking people had arrived in Estonia since the start of the war in Ukraine.

"In addition to the Ukrainian refugees people arrive from Russia, Belarus, Asia and Islamic countries. For instance, the Bangladeshi community doubles each year. One year there are 300, the next year 600, and the following year 1,200 of new arrivals. The main issue is whether or not Estonians would be still the host nation in their own country: the proportion of Estonians in the population has already returned to the same level as at the end of the Soviet era."

Helme said that the spring polls indicating widespread support for welcoming Ukrainian war refugees were conducted on an emotional basis.

However, a poll commissioned by the Government Office and conducted by Turu-uuringute AS in August revealed that the majority of Estonians continue to support the admittance of war refugees, even despite a slight decline (81 percent of all respondents in April, 75 percent in June and 74 percent in August - ed).

The chair of EKRE said that Estonia needs to continue helping Ukraine, but in other ways than before.

"Active fighting is taking place in Ukraine on a very small territory, and we must first and foremost assist Ukrainians in regrouping within their own country. This would be the most humane solution," he said.

Helme said that Estonians should not be made feel guilty by the fact that during the World War II many Estonians also fled to other countries.

"Let's recall how Estonians arrived in Sweden. They were told to take an axe and go to work in the forest after crossing the sea in an autumn storm. There was no way to live off the government. And the Estonians fled from persecution; otherwise, they would have been executed or sent to Siberia. The comparisons between Ukrainians and Estonians are overly simplistic."

Helme said that it is not the responsibility of the Estonian state, that every Ukrainian family should have a safe and good life.

"Estonia is not to blame for this. The Estonian government must be accountable for ensuring the well-being of the Estonian people. I do not wish to return to a world in which I cannot speak my native language at home. If someone wants world peace but destroys their own home in the process, then they aren't actually a good person."

Helme said that political parties support mass immigration because they view newcomers as their future thankful voters. In particular, the EKRE chair said, the Reform Party will have additional 50,000 votes in the next round of municipal elections.

"150,000 non-Estonians have been integrated, one might even say assimilated; however, another 250,000 of them are not. There are 130,000 Russian citizens and 70,000 non-citizens in the country. How long will we keep telling ourselves that integration works? Rather, this process has assimilated Estonians into multiculturalism. This country, which we restored and started building in 1991, remains an increasingly distant dream."

Helme said there should be a clear requirement that people who come here learn Estonian and take the citizenship exam.


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Editor: Kristina Kersa

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