According to data of the Estonian Renewable Energy Association, new renewable electricity capacity added last year totaled 42.19 megawatts or approximately as much as in three preceding years combined, and investments in renewable energy amounted to 70 million euros.
“The 2016 investments and added capacities are almost as large as in three previous years combined. Investment readiness has been increased by the progress of the electricity market bill,” head of the Renewable Energy Association Rene Tammist said.
“While we are optimistic about the year 2017, the state’s policy concerning renewable energy investments after 2020 remains unclear. Such uncertainty is bound to affect investment in the renewable energy sector in coming years, and because of that, it is extremely important to have a legal framework favoring the development of the sector in place soon,” Tammist added.
Data of the transmission system operator Elering show that last year, 1,414 gigawatt-hours of electric energy was produced from renewable sources, 6 per cent less than the year before, and it accounted for 15.1 per cent of total consumption.
Most renewable electric energy, 785 GWh in all, was produced from biomass, biogas and waste. It made up 55.6 per cent of all electricity produced from renewable sources. The share of wind energy was 41.7 per cent with production totaling 589 GWh. Contrary to the year 2015, the 600 GWh cap set for the amount of wind energy eligible for subsidization per year was not achieved in 2016.
Renewable electricity capacity added last year includes the wood chip-fired Imavere cogeneration plant completed in the second half of the year, whose heat capacity is 29 megawatts, and electricity generating capacity is 10 megawatts. The energy group Utilitas launched the Vao II wood chip-fired cogeneration plant with a heat capacity of 76.5 megawatts, and electric energy capacity of 21.4 megawatts.
A new wind farm added 7.05 megawatts of wind energy capacity, bringing the total wind energy capacity installed in Estonia to 309.96 MW. Added solar energy capacity was 3.74 MW. The total solar panel capacity is estimated to have reached 10 MW.
The cost of renewable energy technologies, in particular solar and wind energy, has significantly fallen across the world, Tammist said.