Elering CEO: Restricting electricity consumption would be 'last resort'

Taavi Veskimägi on a previous edition of 'Esimene stuudio'.
Taavi Veskimägi on a previous edition of 'Esimene stuudio'. Source: ERR

A scenario where consumers' electricity consumption is limited is viable this winter, but unlikely and would be an absolute last resort, Taavi Veskimägi, head of grid distributor Elering, says.

Fixed electricity production capacities should be sufficient to cover consumption this winter, barring a convergence of several different risks, Veskimägi said Tuesday, meaning the likelihood of Elering having to instruct network operator Elektrilevi to limit consumption is unlikely, this winter.

Appearing on ETV politics head-to-head show "Esimene stuudio" Tuesday evening, Veskimägi said: "We are also not talking about a simple power outage here. have noticed that when we talk about outages, people in Estonia tend to think that means a blackout, with the country in darkness. We are certainly not talking about such a situation."

"We are talking about a potential risk whereby consumption may have to be limited during peak hours, perhaps in the range of a few hundred megawatts," he went on.

As for the current situation, the Elering chief said that electricity supply in the region as a whole is around 7GW lower than this time last year, which, he said: "Is a direct result of the [Ukraine] war."

"Some things have however, improved compared with the springtime. We have managed to ensure natural gas supply. Fuel supply to power plants is more or less guaranteed, while the situation with hydro reserves in the Nordic countries is fairly good – at present it is already at the median level for the past 20 years."

"The most major concern is the particularly low reliability of power stations. There have been many simultaneous breakdowns of larger power generation units, which is certainly very worrying," Veskimägi said.

Of further precautions, Veskimägi told host Andres Kuusk that potential deficits are forecast in advance, generators are being given extra time to place their production on the NordPool stock exchange, and reserve capacity such as the Kiisa emergency power plant can be pressed into action where necessary.

A Baltic regional control center oversees at all times the production-consumption balance for the seven days ahead, while the day-ahead view ends at 2 p.m. on the NordPool exchange; this can be extended by 15 minutes if supply has not kept up with demand, after which Elering will look at its reserves, which Veskimägi put at around 5GW.

"Estonia's all-time peak consumption is somewhere around 1.6GW," he added.

The company also plans to provide online options on its website for domestic and business customers alike to give consent to limiting their own consumption where necessary and when called upon – which will take place via SMS notification, Veskimägi said.

A more general SMS campaign for all residents in Estonia is being planned, which could also inform consumers of any need to limit consumption if supply security issues occur at any specific point in time, he said.

This should head off the worst-case scenarios of Elering ordering Elektrilevi to cut consumption by, for instance, 200MW, Veskimägi said; the two companies have agreed on consumption reductions where needed in an emergency, on a sub-station-by-sub-station basis, he added.

Elering released its security of power supply report for Estonia on Tuesday, in which it outlined risks and stated that oil shale plants will also be necessary, in order to ensure security of energy supply.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte, Marko Tooming

Source: Esimene stuudio

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