Tallinn plans sustainable district heating from seawater

Utilitas plant in Tallinn.
Utilitas plant in Tallinn. Source: ERR

Utilitas Tallinn wants to construct a seawater heating system for its district heating needs and has submitted a building permission application to install a heat pump. According to the Ministry of Environment, an environmental impact assessment will be necessary.

Utilitas applied for a building permit from the Consumer Protection and Technical Regulatory Authority (TTJA) last year for the production of heat from seawater.

Seawater energy can be used for district heating in the winter and cooling of large buildings in the summer.

The required pipelines must extend about 10 kilometers into Tallinn Bay, as the water piped to the station must be extracted from a depth of 70 meters. The pipelines must reach far enough so that the seawater temperature does not fluctuate dramatically throughout the year.

Robert Kit, chair of the board of Utilitas Tallinn, said that the building permit procedure is still pending and that "it is premature to discuss a more precise timeline and the quantity of the investment until this stage has been completed."

Along with the building permit application, Utilitas Tallinn submitted a preliminary assessment of the project's environmental impact, based on which, the company believes, the project will have no negative environmental impacts and so it is not necessary to initiate the environmental impact assessment procedure.

However, according to the Ministry of the Environment, the environmental impact assessment (EIA) should be initiated, as the preliminary assessment does not address the marine habitat types in the area, the location of the outfall and the effects of underwater noise.

The company intends to build the heat pump on the Kalasadama tänav site near the City Hall (Linnahall) or on the Tallinn Port site on Logi tänav.

The location of the proposed pipeline will be in a high-water-traffic area, according to the maritime spatial plan, and will cross a shipping lane outside anchorages.


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Editor: Kristina Kersa

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