Over a third of electricity generated this year from renewables

Aidu wind farm.
Aidu wind farm. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

Over a third of electricity generated in Estonia this year will have come from renewables, ERR reports.

Renewable electricity will constitute 37 percent of the total, around half from the burning of woody biomass, principally wood chips, and the remainder from wind and solar energy combined – the total for the latter two categories will depend on weather and seasonal conditions.

Through the first eight months of the year, 1,790 Gwh of electricity were produced from renewables, compared with 3,103 Gwh from fossil fuels.

Biomass-generated electricity on its own totaled 885 Gwh.

River Tomera, head of Elering's renewable energy department, said: "Electricity is mainly produced from biomass by co-generation plants, and also partly by the Narva plants. This is, as a rule, electricity produced from wood chips."

The input of solar energy has increased significantly - compared with last year's total solar electricity production, solar panels have already generated a third more electricity, or 428 GWh, January to August this year. The productivity of solar panels depends primarily on the length of the day, with the long days of summer providing the most active time period.

Tomera said: "The most is produced in May and June. During the summer, there can be hours when solar production makes up 70-80 percent of the total production."

Productivity falls more as winter approaches, but to what extent depends on the weather.

"Last year, for instance, production in August fell by almost a third compared with July; this year the fall was only 10 percent," Tomera continued.

In the fall, the productivity from solar panels drops to zero, Andres Meesak, head of the Estonian solar electricity association (Päikeseelektri Assotsiatsioon), said.

"From the middle of November until the republic's anniversary (February 24 – ed.), solar power plants go into hibernation, so basically you can forget about them then. There is no need even to clear the snow off them, as there is simply no light. The sun is so low that these plants generally can't even function," Meesak said.

Wind energy also depends on the time of year - whereas winds are usually high in autumn, in winter it varies more.

River Tomera said: "When the weather is cold, there will be less wind. When the temperature is around zero, in other words, a warm winter, there will be much stormier, windy weather. Wind energy production can fluctuate by 30-35 percent from year to year."

This year, seven percent more wind energy has been produced than was the case in 2021, but 15 percent less compared with the year before. Wind energy generation is essentially less predictable than that of solar, Tomera noted.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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