Another local government given go-ahead to use shale oil for winter heating

Oil shale mine.
Oil shale mine. Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

The town (alev) of Vändra in Põhja-Pärnumaa Municipality will use shale oil this winter to bring down skyrocketing district heating bills.

Municipality Mayor Aivar Mäe showed Saturday's "Aktuaalne kaamera" the town's new boiler house which contains a shale oil tank. He said it will be ready to use when the temperature drops.

"I think we'll be ready by the end of September. But as it's going to be an Indian summer and they say the winter will be extremely warm, I don't even know when the boiler will start. But I think the people of Vändra are very satisfied," Mäe told the show.

Vändra's district heating is supplied by Adven Eesti and the company managed to buy a boiler unit in the spring, something which would be impossible now.

Board member Raivo Melsas said the boiler is now in place but still needs to be connected to the district heating pipeline which should be done sometime in October. "Then we can start heating," he said.

Residents are happy about the decision as there are concerns about high heating costs this winter. It is not yet known just how high the bills will be.

Several other municipalities have applied to use shale oil this winter, including Narva in Ida-Viru County, due to rising gas and electricity prices. It is thought around 50 providers may seek to use the fuel source this year.

Before the crisis, Estonia had established long-term plans to close its shale oil industry, which is mostly based in Ida-Viru County in the east.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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