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Estonia sets new national record for electricity consumption

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Cold weather.
Cold weather. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

On Thursday, a new national record for electricity consumption in Estonia was set. According to network operator Elering, at 11 a.m., electricity consumption reached a total of 1,594.7 megawatts (MW).

Estonia's previous all-time electricity consumption record was set on February 18, 2021, when consumers used 1,591 megawatts of electricity at a single point in time.

Even though Ain Köster, Elering's communications manager, told ERR that the record could end up being surpassed again later on Thursday and consumption exceed 1,600 megawatts, this did not come to pass.

Generation reached 1,415.2 MW at 4 p.m. on Thursday of which 260.2 MW was supplied by wind farms. Köster said that the theoretical maximum generation of Estonian wind farms is 370 MW.

The record production level in recent years was 2,281 MW, between 9 and 10 a.m. on January 15, 2016. Since then, production has rarely exceeded 1,000 MW, as there has been no reason to use Estonia's oil shale plants with their accompanying high CO2 quota prices, and there is not usually much wind in frosty weather. Estonia has therefore been dependent instead on electricity imports.

The price of electricity in Nord Pool's Estonian market area soared on Thursday. The average cost was €221.8 per megawatt-hour, more than double the price on Wednesday. On Friday, the price of electricity will hit €1,896 per megawatt-hour 7-8 a.m. and the daily average will come to €886.84.

The current high electricity prices and consumption rates are due to low air temperatures in the Nordic-Baltic region.

While Finland's Fingrid was advising people to limit their electricity consumption during peak hours on Thursday, Elering said there was no need to do so in Estonia.

"There is no such situation in Estonia. We are practically one region as the Baltic countries, and we still have operational capacity that could be used and has not entered the market so far. In Finland, the weather is indeed very cold and in that case consumption is really at its peak and there are critical hours. Fortunately, we don't have that and so there is no need to issue a warning," Köster said.

Köster added that Latvia and Lithuania have gas-fired power plants in reserve, which despite being  old and inefficient could be brought online if necessary. While they are more expensive, gas plants can be brought online faster than shale plants, which may take as long as a day to start up.

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Editor: Michael Cole

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