Durejko: Winter supply security could be hard without external connections

Andrus Durejko.
Andrus Durejko. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

Chair of the management board of Eesti Energia Andrus Durejko said in the podcast "Otse uudistemajast" that the company could provide a consistent supply of about 1,000 megawatts without external connections during the winter. However, securing 1,500 megawatts would be a challenge.

Durejko said that although Estonia's current supply security measures are adequate, a long-term outlook is also necessary.

When it comes to the Baltic states' supply security, he thinks that Estonia's supply security must be viewed holistically.

"In addition to the two Estlink cables, we also have a Lithuanian-Polish direct connection of about 700 megawatts. These are the three external connections. The fact that there are three is an advantage in and of itself. It means that the possibility of affecting the infrastructure is somewhat lower. But the possibility always remains," Durejko explained.

Durejko pointed out that Eesti Energia's owner's expectation in terms of security of supply is to ensure 1,000 megawatts of managed generation capacity, with more in the winter and less in the summer.

"This means that, in terms of Estonia's energy consumption, our cogeneration plants and the remainder of cogeneration plants in Estonia will be able to ensure energy output in line with demand. The main concern with supply security is undoubtedly the issue of synchronization that we are still getting from Russia; more precisely, the risk that has emerged from warnings from Lithuanian businesses and politicians here over the summer that this risk still exists. This means that our energy system must be self-sufficient. This is a serious difficulty, but we have solutions. It is only a matter of how long we have to prepare for such an event and what our capacity is to endure it," Durejko commented.

Durejko said that Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, together, would be able to supply the Baltic region with electricity, should the need arise, also in a situation where there is no external supply. "Controlled stations can be launched and in Kiisa we have the Elering standby station, as well," Durejko said.

Andrus Durejko. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

At the same time, he pointed out that these stations are nearing the end of their exploitation periods.

"During the winter, we will be able to deliver 1,000 megawatts of sustained electricity generation capacity," he said.

According to him, the Auvere power plant is now undergoing scheduled renovations and will be operational with better reliability by the end of October.

Anvar Samost, the program's host, asked Durejko as to whether security of supply can be guaranteed at the present level of consumption, should one of Estlink's cables breakdown, for instance, in January, when Estonia's electricity consumption peaks at about 1,500 megawatts.

"Of course, at our very best, we can. This presupposes that it will be covered by all available capacities. Then, reliability really comes into play, and there, we are on the edge of it. There will inevitably be occasions in which one must begin lowering consumption capacities; in sum, the duration of the period is what matters most. When the period is unusually lengthy, difficulties begin to emerge," Durejko said.

He said that ensuring supply security would become a difficult task if the situation persisted for several weeks. "In a situation where we have all capacities in operation, there will inevitably be failures," he said.

Such a situation, he said, would also cause higher market prices.

Durejko also said that Estonian companies are in an unequal position in terms of energy and competitiveness, which is the result of past policy decisions by Estonian governments. "This is where we are; the decisions we have taken so far are not sufficient to resolve this situation."

Samost also asked Durejko to comment on climate ministry deputy vice-chancellor Timo Tatar's statement that Estonian energy prices will remain higher than those in Finland, Sweden or Norway for another three years.

This is a very optimistic outlook according to Durejko. "Three years in the energy sector is a timeframe in which no new capacity can be developed; that would be over-optimistic. Except for renewable energy. What Timo Tatar was probably trying to say is that we are certainly going to have some volatility in energy prices. /.../ He said that there will be no alternative low-cost energy production on the market during this period and in that he is right."

Durejko added that renewable energy, such as wind, cannot be used to ensure supply security.


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Editor: Aleksander Krjukov, Kristina Kersa

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