Electricity prices are most affected by the price of natural gas, and there is no substantial drop in the price of electricity to be seen on the horizon, energy executive Sandor Liive said on the 2023 year in review aired on ETV news broadcast "Aktuaalne kaamera" on Saturday.
The annual average price of electricity this year was twice as low as it was last year, but nonetheless still several times higher than it was just a few years ago, Liive noted, with no significant change in price to be expected in the near future.
"2023 saw an annual average electricity price of just under €100 per megawatt-hour (MWh)," he said. "A year earlier, it was twice as high as that. Compared with last year things have gone very well, with electricity costing practically half as much. But at the same time, the price of electricity this year is still three times more expensive than it was in 2020."
Looking ahead toward 2024 and 2025, Liive continued, Estonia won't be seeing any drastic changes within the next couple of years.
"Things in the energy sector are slow-burning," he explained. "And what affects electricity prices the most in the short term is the price of natural gas. Like last year and the year before, the price of gas went up, driving up the price of electricity too, and it now likewise brought it back down, as the price of gas has gone down."
According to the energy executive, Estonia's oil shale plants will continue operating for at least another decade yet.
"We'll be doing the same thing we're doing today with oil shale," he commented. "I think we'll continue doing so for at least another ten years. We produce oil from this oil shale in Estonia, meaning we're trying to leave the carbon and hydrogen in that oil in order to sell it off. And what we see on cold winter days when the wind doesn't blow and the sun doesn't shine is that oil plants are still operating at quite a high capacity."
Liive acknowledged that as long as Estonia still has overhead power lines, the country may still see more major power outages like this year's.
"The location [of the outage] may change, but still, so long as the electricity distribution network remains in overhead lines, then trees will unfortunately fall on them, and the power will go out for a while," he acknowledged. "Let's just hope that [distribution network operator (DNO)] Elektrilevi can eliminate outages more quickly."
Editor: Aili Vahtla