TALLINN – The European Commission on Monday adopted the Territorial Just Transition Plan (TJTP), according to which Estonia will receive 354 million euros in EU grants to support the phasing out of oil shale in energy production in East-Viru County, oil shale related companies located in this easternmost region account for over 50 percent of Estonia's total greenhouse gas emissions.
Estonia has set the objectives to cease electricity production from oil shale by 2035, to phase out oil shale in energy production by 2040 and to reach climate neutrality by 2050. Investments financed by the Just Transition Fund (JTF) will support the country to address the social, economic and environmental challenges related to the transition to a climate neutral economy, the European Commission representation in Estonia said.
The plan invests in solar, wind and hydro power, and in renewable hydrogen, and it supports the development of renewable heating solutions. It also includes the restoration of contaminated brownfield sites.
With the JTF support, Estonia will diversify its economic activity away from fossil fuels, which account for almost half of East-Viru County's GDP. It will create a new business environment in the region, based on a circular economy, which will support research and development in collaboration with local education and research institutions.
The plan foresees the reskilling and upskilling of around 11,000 local workers and jobseekers. It will also provide large-scale labor market mobility solutions for oil shale workers to new businesses with high value-added green jobs. Moreover, it will create around 1,100 direct jobs notably in the renewable energy sectors.
In addition, the JTF will support and improve in the region the quality and accessibility of social and health services.