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Unfavorable weather drives up electricity prices and consumption in Estonia

Snow on powerlines.
Snow on powerlines. Source: ERR

The high electricity prices and consumption in Estonia over recent days are due to the cold, but relatively wind-free weather. Since November, electricity prices have mostly remained above €100 per megawatt hour (MWh) on weekdays, while at one point on Tuesday, consumption exceeded 1,500 MW, which was close to being an all-time record.

"The wind-free and dry weather along with  the continued very low amounts of wind power generation have had a significant impact on today's electricity prices. At the same time, temperatures further below freezing have increased consumption and more expensive power plants have had  to be started up to cover consumption levels. This has led to higher than average electricity prices across Europe," said Silver Kera, Eesti Energia's chief portfolio manager.

Kera stressed that due to the weather conditions, electricity prices are currently high across the continent, at over €100 per megawatt-hour (MWh).

"In the Nordic countries, where temperatures are lower and consumption is therefore higher, they are particularly high, reaching €160 — 175 per megawatt-hour," Kera said.

Kera also pointed out that the lack of wind has had a particularly strong impact on Finland, where large wind farms have been installed but are currently unable to produce much energy. In Finland, the capacity provided by wind farms was around 100 MW on Monday and Tuesday, while in September it was 2,500 MW. 

Ingrid Arus, Nordpool's Baltic regional manager, told ERR on Tuesday that the rise in electricity prices was due to higher consumption and a lack of wind in both the Nordic and Baltic countries.

According to Arus, unit 4 of Sweden's Ringhals nuclear power plant is still partially operational and should reach maximum capacity early tomorrow morning.

"In Estonia, the repair work on the Auvere plant has been extended until this weekend, and unit 8 of the Estonian Power Plant is also partially out of service," Arus added.

"However, due to the scarcity of renewable energy, gas plants with higher marginal costs have entered the market, in both Latvia and Lithuania," she said.

Estonia's all-time consumption peak is believed to be 1,591 MW, which was recorded on February 18, 2021. On Tuesday, between 11 a.m. and midday Estonia's consumption level reached 1,507.8 MW.

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Editor: Michael Cole

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