The Estonian government on Thursday approved the allocation of more than €90 million from the European Union support facility REPowerEU to speed up the deployment of renewable energy, tackle the energy crisis and help Europe end its dependence on Russian oil and gas.
"We'll use REPowerEU funds to increase Estonia's energy security and accelerate the green transition," Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) said according to a press release.
According to the prime minister, the government will use the largest share of the allocation — more than €50 million in total — to support the faster deployment of renewable energy.
"Estonia's goal is to cover 100 percent of its electricity consumption from renewable sources by 2030," she explained. "To achieve this, the state must first and foremost speed up administration and cooperation between government agencies, local authorities and businesses. We're eliminating bottlenecks to get renewable energy projects processed as quickly as possible."
All of this, Kallas stressed, can be accelerated with REPower funds. "This way, we'll strengthen energy security and can switch to renewable energy sooner," she added.
About ten different laws need to be amended in order to implement these changes. Some of the amendments, which will help simplify already pending projects, can presumably be adopted by the current Riigikogu. The plan is to develop a comprehensive package of legislative changes by next February.
Minister of Finance Annely Akkermann (Reform) said that the REPowerEU funding facility is intended for investments that are made within a very tight timeframe.
"The necessary administrative processes that would support the accelerated deployment of renewable energy have already been launched, and now the financial support is in place as well," Akkermann said. "The outcomes for which REPower support is used must be achieved by May 2026 at the latest."
Estonia is to receive a total of €90.04 million within the scope of the REPowerEU facility, which the Estonian government approved the allocation of as follows:
- €31.8 million for a reform to accelerate the deployment of renewable energy;
- €20.2 million to increase biogas production and deployment;
- €18 million to further increase renewable energy grid integration capacity;
- €20 million for energy efficiency grants for small houses.
Thursday's decision is the basis for Estonia to launch negotiations with the European Commission on the use of the support from the funding facility.
A separate REPowerEU chapter will be prepared for the recovery plan that is the basis for the use of the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RFF) as a result of the agreements made in negotiations, and the government is expected to officially approve it in early spring 2023.
Editor: Aili Vahtla