Eesti in brief - 2011-05-05

  • 2011-05-04

Estonia’s renewable energy production increased by 50 percent in a year, reaching 254 GWh in the first quarter of this year, reports Eesti Paevaleht Online. Three new wind energy generators were joined with the Elering grid in the Aulepa wind energy park, which brought the total capacity of wind energy generators in the Estonian electricity system to nearly 157 MW. The amount of wind energy-based electricity grew the most, by 70 percent, or from 60 GWh to 102 GWh. The amount of electricity produced from waste and biomass grew by 38 percent, from 105 GWh to 145 GWh. The amount of electric energy produced by hydroenergy increased 48 percent, from 5 GWh to nearly 8 GWh. The total renewable energy production in the first quarter of this year was 11 percent of all Estonian electricity consumption, versus 7 percent at the same time last year.

In four years time, the Estonian central government’s reserves will be tiny as compared to the pre-crisis era, reports Delfi. In 2007, central government reserves amounted to 1.5 billion euros; in four years time the central government will have just 157 million euros of reserves left, indicates the state’s budgetary strategy till 2015. The amount of reserves of local municipalities will not drastically change, but the budget surpluses of the Health Insurance Fund and Unemployment Insurance Fund will considerably increase. The Health Insurance Fund reserves can only be used for medicine and Unemployment Insurance Fund reserves to pay unemployment insurance compensations and for some labor market services. Central government reserves can be used for anything, which is why when these end, the state may need to start borrowing money for its activities, although the Health Insurance Fund and Unemployment Insurance Fund reserves enable Estonia to show to Brussels a strong budgetary balance.

Estonian Economy and Communications Minister Juhan Parts says that the biggest wasters of energy in Estonia are private homes, reports National Broadcasting. One of the priorities of Estonia in the coming years is saving energy. Parts said on national television ETV’s evening news last week that the state wants to motivate apartment owners to raise their awareness and support them in making their homes more energy efficient. “Energy saving will come from us investing in saving energy. It concerns private businesses, also industry but the biggest waste of energy takes place in the homes we live in,” said Parts. Parts said that the core of the promise of the Pro Patria and Res Publica Party’s election promise to cut home costs is in saving energy. “We could cut heating bills by 50 percent today,” noted Parts, adding that the new scheme of support of renewable energy should also cut the price of electricity to some extent.