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Estonian Power Plants Can Cover Demand Until 2020, Elering Says

Estonia’s existing power plants can cover domestic consumption until 2020, four years longer than forecast earlier, the country’s power grid operator said.

Estonia will be able to keep more power generation capacity beyond 2016 after the European Union earlier this year adopted new legislation on industrial emissions that extends the deadline for closing combustion plants until 2024, allowing limited operation, the state-owned Elering AS said in an e-mailed statement today.

Eesti Energia AS, the largest Baltic utility, was expected to close half of its 12 oil shale-fired power units from 2016, reducing generation capacity by 970 megawatts, according to previous forecasts by Elering published April last year. The new directive would allow using part-time capacity of 636 megawatts on top of permanent capacity of 1,022 megawatts at Eesti Energia plants, Elering said today.

Electricity consumption will grow an annual 2.2 percent on average until 2025, reaching 10.6 terawatt-hours, Elering said.

Estonia is the only country in the world where oil shale, a rock from which petroleum-like oil can be extracted, is the primary source of energy, at over 90 percent of total.

The Baltic nation seeks to raise the use of renewable energy sources in line with EU targets. Still, it expects to rely on oil shale for most of its output in coming years to reduce security of supply risks.

Eesti Energia is holding talks with Alstom SA to postpone construction of two oil-shale fired power plants as it lacks state guarantees on financing the project, Postimees reported earlier today, citing company executives and board members.

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