Shale oil electricity generation rose by 42 percent in Estonia in 2022

Oil-shale burning power station at Auvere, just west of Narva.
Oil-shale burning power station at Auvere, just west of Narva. Source: Sergei Stepanov/ERR

Electricity production rose on year to 2022 by 21 percent, while heat production rose by 8 percent, state agency Statistics Estonia reports. The use of shale oil at power stations significantly rose last year, by over 40 percent.

Heat production refers to district heating in larger settlements – hot water piped in to many apartment blocks; often, natural gas is used at district heating plants though soaring prices have in some cases led to alternatives being used.

Statistics Estonia reports that power stations nationwide generated 8,910 Gwh electricity in 2022, as noted a 21 percent rise on the figure for 2021, while 5,074 Gwh of heat was generated last year.

Lead analyst at Statistics Estonia Helle Truuts said: "Less electricity was produced from other fuels than in 2021. Global developments had a major impact on fuel prices last year, which in turn affected the shares of fuels used for power generation. In 2022, the cost of most fuels went up."

The volume electricity generated from oil shale rose by 42 percent in the year 2021-2022, accounting for more than half (57 percent) of the total electricity production.

Electricity production in Estonia, 2020-2022. Source: Statistics Estonia

In 2021, electricity generated from oil shale represented 49 percent of the total electricity produced.

The amount of electricity generated from oil shale gas also increased – by 14 percent.

A further 16 percent of electricity was produced in co-generation, via combined heat and power (CHP) plants.

These generate electricity from a variety of fuels, while district heating can also be used in co-generation; for instance in Narva, hot water which is a by-product of generation has been utilized for this purpose.

CHP plants produced 1,394 GWh of electricity and 4,382 GWh of heat, Statistics Estonia says.

The largest contribution to energy production at CHP plants, measured in terajoules, derived from wood-based fuels, including wood chippings.


The amount of electricity generated from renewable sources remained at the 2021 level and accounted for 33 percent of total electricity production, the agency says.

More than half (52 percent) of the renewable energy derived from wood and woody biomass sources.

The volume of electricity generated from both wind energy and wood fuel fell by nearly 10 percent on year to 2022.

The largest growth (68 percent) in renewable energy production was seen in solar energy, which accounted for 20 percent of the renewable energy generated in 2022.

More detailed information is here and here.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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