Estonian Energy to open high tech power plant

  • 2010-03-17
  • By Liina Lelmi

TALLINN - The construction of a new waste-to-energy type power plant will start in the summer 2010 in the vicinity of Tallinn, where the new construction will lead to co-generation of electricity and heat. The combined heat and electricity power station will be realized in the form of an extension of the existing Iru Power Plant, fully financed by Eesti Energia. The contract with the French constructor Constructions Industrialles De La Mediterranee (CNIM) has already been signed.

Currently, Iru Power Plant produces energy from natural gas at extremely variable price levels. By 2012, however, energy will be produced from burning waste on the basis of the most sophisticated technologies available. Estonia annually produces about 300,000 tons of waste a year. Some 220,000 tons that remains after sorting, as well as construction and industrial waste, will be burned at the Iru Power Plant in the future.

“The new CHP thermal energy capacity will be 50MW of heat, in addition to electricity production of 17 MW, and will give work to more employees. Currently there are about 50 employees at Iru Power Plant, and this is destined to increase,” the director of Eesti Energia BU Renewable Energy, Ando Leppiman explains. He confirms the heating prices in Tallinn and Maardu are to go down with the coming into operations of the new plant.

“Although the energy obtained from ordinary municipal waste is comparable to that of oil shale, a large share of current waste simply ends up in landfills. With the Iru power plant’s waste combustion unit, we will in two years’ time become the first in the Baltics to start recovering a significant quantity of the waste generated domestically on an everyday basis,” said Sandor Liive, CEO of Eesti Energia, reports LETA. “This will reduce the environmental impact considerably, while offering us the opportunity to generate heat and power using domestic fuel available at a stable price. Our waste collection fees will be lower than the charges at landfills and the heat price will be more stable and lower than that of heat generated from gas or biomass.”

Stefano Costa, member of the management board of CNIM, said that “We, CNIM, as constructor of the turn-key project, will build for our client Eesti Energia a plant with one of the highest efficiency [levels] achieved in Europe. This plant will be designed with the most advanced technologies for the combustion and energy conversion systems as well as the flue gas cleaning system. CNIM together with its long-time German technology partner Martin GmbH, will provide the most reliable and highest performing combustion equipment. The air pollution control is based on the latest standards and is designed to comply with emissions below the limits established by the European legislation.”

The cost of the power energy-generating unit is about 1.5 billion kroons (96.1 million euros).
The mass waste combustion systems that are most common in commercial use transform about 85 percent of the energy contained in waste into electricity and heat. A waste-to-energy unit that runs on technology similar to that of Iru will soon be completed in the Finnish capital Helsinki.

In Europe, there are about 500 similar power plants working. Estonia’s neighbor, Sweden, burns as much as half of its waste into energy. Iru Power Plant, on the other hand, is the first of its kind in Estonia and the Baltics, and not to remain the last. Two other similar power plants are in the planning phases to be located near Tallinn and in the south of Estonia.