TALLINN – Estonia's Minister of Economic Affairs and Infrastructure Riina Sikkut says the substitution of natural gas with other fuels in district heating needs to be dealt with now to be prepared for a crisis and to keep our homes warm come winter.
"Our district heating operators are working hard to ensure the availability of the fuel needed to ensure the supply of heat in the coming heating season. As the feedback received from the market shows that not everyone is receiving enough gas supply offers for the upcoming heating period, natural gas must be replaced with other fuels where possible, and this must be dealt with today in order to give consumers the necessary certainty," Sikkut said in a press release published by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications.
According to Sikkut, the situation on the gas market continues to be tense both here and elsewhere in Europe, which is why large consumers of natural gas must mitigate risks early.
The minister noted that, in the best-case scenario, the new LNG floating terminal being built now will help to secure gas supply. The construction of LNG reception capability in both Estonia and Finland is on schedule and this capability is expected to be secured in the region by the end of the year.
"However, we cannot really guarantee that everything will go smoothly and to plan, and we need to be prepared for temporary switching to another fuel at least in the coming winter," the minister said.
Requests for fuel switches have been submitted to the Environmental Board, and a positive decision has been made regarding Enefit Power AS, a company operating in Narva.
"I also call on all other district heating operators and industrial enterprises who need to change their environmental permit for fuel substitution to do so as soon as possible in order to be ready for the winter in time," Sikkut said.
According to the minister, when submitting an application, it is important that companies comply with the requirements for the application so that processing will be as quick and easy as possible for all parties.
The minister stressed that, in addition to the confidence of consumers, it is crucial that the state helps the country's businesses to increase their preparedness and adaptability, thereby ensuring the economic security of the country.
Last year, of district heating across Estonia, about 55 percent was generated from local biomass and 20 percent form natural gas, 15 percent was waste heat, and the rest was generated from oil shale, peat and other sources.