Ansip defends use of oil shale

  • 2007-10-12
  • By Mike Collier
VILNIUS -- Estonian Prime Minister Andrus Ansip used his address to the Vilnius energy conference 2007 to reassert Estonia's commitment to the use of oil shale as a means of producing its own electricity.

"Estonia's main energy source is oil shale. We produce enough energyfrom oil shale to meet our own needs. And we are even able to supplyour neighbours with electricity. Thanks to oil shale our over-allenergy dependency is one of the smallest in the European Union. Indeed,we are not highly dependent on Russian energy as commonly believed," Ansip said.

However, oil shale is problematic in that it creates large amounts of carbon as a byproduct of the electricity generation process. The EU is attempting to impose large-scale restictions on Estonia's carbon emissions which would make the continued use of oil shale as the major energy source impossible.

"We realize that if we want to sustain our relative energy independence,we face some important strategic decisions in the coming years. Do weinvest into continued electricity production from oil shale? Or shouldwe seek alternative sources of energy? I believe that we should opt fora balanced approach. In other words - continue to make efficient use ofoil shale. But also look for more diversification in our energy mix,"  Ansip said.

"We should adopt a similar approach on the regional level too. While weclearly cannot completely abandon all existing sources of energy, weshould work intensively on finding new, additional solutions to ourenergy needs."