Finance minister: Exiting oil shale energy not sensible

Minister of Finance Mart Helme (EKRE, middle) visiting Eesti Energia's Auvere Power Plant in Ida-Viru County.
Minister of Finance Mart Helme (EKRE, middle) visiting Eesti Energia's Auvere Power Plant in Ida-Viru County. Source: Sergei Stepanov/ERR

The current Estonian government doesn't consider exiting the mining of and production of energy from oil shale as sensible, Minister of Finance Martin Helme (EKRE) said this week, adding that the goal should be to make this branch of the Estonian economy consistent with present-day environmentally-friendly requirements using innovative solutions.

Presenting the expectations of the state as owner to Estonian state-owned energy group Eesti Energia, Helme said that the current government considers energy security to be of utmost importance, with Eesti Energia playing a central role in it.

The Estonian state is the owner of Eesti Energia as the energy sector is one of the most important safeguards of Estonia's well-being, he said, making a contribution to the improvement of the country's economic environment and competitiveness.

"It's important to take care of the long-term sustainability of the energy sector in order for energy supply to be ensured at an appropriate level in the years to come as well," the minister noted.

For the achievement of strategic goals, it's important to be competitive in the production of electricity as well as possess a diverse portfolio which allows the energy group to successfully act as the producer, seller and exporter of electricity.

"In order to be competitive as en electricity producer in the long term and to simultaneously reduce the burden on the environment, modernizing the production of oil shale energy, diversifying the production portfolio and increasing the capacities of renewable energy is inevitable," Helme said.

It's also critical for the state that Estonia possess a controllable domestic electricity generating capability in the amount of at least 1,000 megawatts through at least 2023 in order to cover average domestic consumption.

According to Helme, one also must not forget that Eesti Energia is a business that must produce a profit for its owner. The state must demand from its businesses an exemplary corporate culture and an effective and well-functioning business model, he highlighted. In Eesti Energia's case, this means that each of the group's fields of business must be profitable in its own right.

The minister reiterated the government's plan to, within the next few years, conduct an initial public offering (IPO) of shares in Eesti Energia's green energy subsidiary Enefit Green along with the subsequent listing of shares.

At a company summer event in Lääne-Viru County earlier this week, the finance minister outlined the expectations of the state as owner of Eesti Energia for the next few years.


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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