Eesti Energia is going to achieve carbon neutrality by 2045
Eesti Energia's long-term action plan envisages the cessation of electricity production from oil shale by 2030 and a transition to exclusively renewable electricity production. The company will no longer produce liquid fuels from oil shale after 2040 when newer pyrolysis plants have been completely redesigned to produce raw materials for the chemical industry. All production will be carbon neutral by 2045 at the latest.
Eesti Energia's CO2 emissions have fallen threefold over the last few years: from 11.3 million tons in 2018 to 3.8 million tons in 2020. In 1990 - the year considered the basis in the European Union, the company's CO2 emissions were 20 million tons. Hence, the company's CO2 emissions have decreased by 81% to date, and the Estonian state has met the 2030 target for reducing greenhouse gases.
The energy group has approved a plan on how to complete the final journey to carbon-neutral production and how to help other sectors reduce their environmental footprint.
“We believe that electrification, i.e. wider use of green electricity in transport, housing and industrial processes, is the best and fastest way to reduce CO2 emissions in Estonia and in the world. Over the next five years, Eesti Energia will increase its renewable electricity generation capacity two-and-a-half-fold,” explained Hando Sutter, Chairman of the Management Board of Eesti Energia.
“We see our role and responsibility to be an enabler of the green revolution. We help our customers plan and then implement their journey towards a smaller environmental footprint. For this, we already have the necessary range of services for complete solutions waiting for customers,” he added.
The restructuring of large-scale production in Ida-Virumaa has a longer perspective in the company's strategy. The use of oil shale in thermal power plants will end during 2026-2030. The remaining power plants will only use waste wood and semi-coke gas generated as a by-product of oil production, following the principles of the circular economy.
The role of steerable power plants will be to provide services that help maintain stability in the power network after the disconnection of the Baltics from the Russian Federation’s electrical system.
The production of oil from oil shale is essentially a chemical process – pyrolysis –the conversion of oil shale into liquid fuels at high temperatures without oxygen. The first step of the action plan envisages that the replacement of oil shale with alternative raw materials - waste tyres and plastic waste - will begin in the production of liquid fuels in the coming years.
We will take the next step after 2030, that is to exit the production of liquid fuels. We are moving towards the production of raw materials for the chemical industry from shale oil, waste plastic oil, semi-coke gas and industry-captured CO2, from which other industries in turn can make plastic packaging, paints, solvents, fuels, adhesives, clothing in the textile industry, etc.