Eesti Energia CEO Andrus Durejko told ERR in an interview that whether to build new hydrogen power plants remains a business decision as opposed to a government-mandated plan, while there are hardly any carbon-neutral alternatives to hydrogen when it comes to managed power generation capacity.
Durejko said that what is possible with today's technology are hybrid plants that use 90 percent hydrogen, which is then mixed with biomethane, methane or natural gas in the turbine. "But our eventual goal is to have turbines running on hydrogen alone and to use the heat generated in the process in district heating."
Talking about the first new plant's output, the CEO said that the target is to have a power output of 100 megawatts and heating output of 60 MW. "But we're aiming a little higher in the long run. We want to have around 300 MW, which would give us enough controlled generation and the ability to rapidly generate power for the system services market," Durejko said, adding that Eesti Energia plans to build one 100 MW plant and then see whether it will build another two or go with a single 200 MW plant after that. "It will boil down to developments in the next few years."
He said that the new plants will be built at the Baltic Power Plant industrial park in Narva and that a single plant's cost estimate is around €125 million, while the final price depends on a lot of different details.
Eesti Energia plans to start using green hydrogen, which it hopes to produce at competitive prices by 2027-2030. "We will also be developing corresponding electrolysis capacity, which will have the function of storage during periods of low prices and help compensate for periods of excess solar and wind power."
Durejko said that syngas is another good source for so-called blue hydrogen and something Eesti Energia will have from its chemical industries.
Regarding the price of hydrogen power, he said that it will definitely be cheaper than generating power from oil shale today, giving the rough estimate of between €50-100 per megawatt-hour.
Asked what should be done to make sure electricity prices in Estonia would be on par with those in Finland, Durejko said that Estonia needs more energy links with other countries, as well as more renewable and managed generation but added that even with state subsidies the cost price of power is no lower than €50/MWh.
Editor: Marcus Turovski