TALLINN – While the Estonian government cannot do anything immediately about the rapid rise in electricity prices, as this is a global phenomenon resulting from rapid recovery from the coronavirus crisis, burning low-value wood at power plants could temporarily reduce the upward pressure on prices, Minister of Public Administration Jaak Aab said on Thursday.
The minister noted at a government press conference that the opposition has come up with various promises to curb price rises, which however are unworkable because they run counter to valid rules.
"If it is proposed that it is possible to pay for renewable sources of energy, it is not possible, it is not within the rules," Aab stressed.
"There are certain rules on how we can use specific kinds of compensation monies," he said.
The minister pointed out that the price increase is global and affects primarily energy carriers -- fuels, gas, electricity.
"I think it was a good decision that we didn't close the oil shale boilers after all, otherwise we would have been in real trouble this winter. We've put them on standby and they'll probably be running this winter. One of those mitigating measures is also that we can burn low-value wood in these boilers -- that will probably contain the price a bit," he added.
Aab also cited, as a mitigating measure, the excise duty cuts introduced by the previous government, which will continue to apply next year.
"That, too, will take off pressure for price increases," he said.
According to the minister, the government will continue to look for different mitigating measures and they will certainly be discussed during the budget procedure.
"We can't say it out loud here yet, but we're going to continue these searches, we're definitely going to try to find those places during the budget procedure," he added.