Eesti Energia planning to build hydrogen power plant in coming years

Power lines.
Power lines. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

Eesti Energia is planning to build two new hydrogen and gas powered plants in the coming years to cover peak capacity. A tender for the first facility will be announced next year.

The National Audit Office has said the government needs to make long-term decisions about energy supply in the near future. From 2027, producing oil shale will become economically unsustainable, and Estonia may have problems securing its electricity supply.

On Tuesday, Minister of Climate Kristen Michal (Reform) said Elering's Kiisa power plant and Eesti Energia's planned hydrogen plant could provide up to 500 MW in reserve capacity.

Eesti Energia's Head of Chemical Industry Strategy and Transformation Lauri Karp said the company has ambitious plans for the production and use of hydrogen.

"Our immediate plan is to build the first hydrogen peak power plant in Narva, with a capacity of about 100 MW, and to build a second plant in Iru, with about the same parameters, based on this experience. If we talk about the timeframe, we will finish the design next year and then we will open the call for tenders," he said.

The first station will be put into operation when there is no sun or wind. "There will be a lot of these moments in the Estonian electricity system every year," Karp said.

The power plant will run on hydrogen, biomethane and, if needed, natural gas in limited quantities. Eesti Energia can either produce hydrogen itself or buy it.

Karp said the most important question about producing your own hydrogen is the price.

Hydrogen has great potential and it is forecast that the Auvere chemical industry will be the largest consumer of it in Estonia between 2035-2040, he said.

The initial choice for hydrogen production is at Iru and Narva, the most attractive place to use hydrogen is in Ida-Viru County, said Karp. "In both locations, there is a heating network, which allows the residual heat from electricity generation to be used in the heating network," the official said.

It is estimated that Eesti Energia could start generating its own hydrogen at the end of the decade.


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Editor: Barbara Oja, Helen Wright

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