Enefit Technology Park creates jobs and helps make the green transition a reality
Over the past five years, Eesti Energia has created a unique technology park near Narva, that attracts energy-intensive but green-minded companies to Ida-Viru County with low electricity prices and a wide range of opportunities, and helps to create new jobs.
Enefit Technology Park, located next to the Balti Power Plant, provides the ideal ecosystem for energy-intensive businesses to succeed. Thanks to the direct line, customers will get 24 to 30 percent cheaper electricity with a fast connection. For major customers, it takes a few months to connect; for smaller customers it may take just days. Companies can also benefit from good logistical connections, surveillance, skilled labour in the region, as well as chemical by-products such as gas, industrial steam, limestone and ash.
Norman Leemets, who is responsible for business development at the Enefit Technology Park, said that the aim is to help high-consumption companies make the green transition by providing efficient solutions that work on the circular economy principle.
‘What makes the Technology Park special is the synergy that allows all parties to achieve their goals more successfully,’ said Leemets. ‘As an energy company, we are committed to our customers and to making our operations more environmentally friendly. It is the trust of customers who associate their future with the Technology Park that motivates and reassures new investments. At the same time, collaborations will emerge between the customers of the Technology Park where, for example, one company’s waste heat will be an input for another customer’s production.’
Energy production is becoming greener in leaps and bounds
Thanks to the trust of large customers, the Enefit Technology Park will be able to develop an integrated green energy centre that will bring together the wind and solar farm output, the consumption of large customers, and the hybrid power plants of Eesti Energia, where the plan is to gradually shift production to renewable sources.
The carbon footprint of the electricity consumed is an increasingly important issue for companies operating in and planning to join the Technology Park. Andres Vainola, Chairman of the Management Board of Enefit Power, the company that develops and operates Narva power plants, said that major steps have been taken in a short period of time to reduce the environmental pressure, and the company plans to continue its rapid development in the coming years.
‘Enefit Power has converted its newest power generation capacities at Auvere, Eesti and Balti Power Plants into hybrid power stations,’ said Vainola. ‘At Auvere, Estonia’s newest power station, our oil shale use capacity is only in the extent of 15 to 20 per cent; we can use waste wood and semi-coke gas for the rest. At the Balti Power Plant near Narva, that share is 30%, but in four to five years we will be able to generate electricity without oil shale there as well. We are also moving in the same direction at the Eesti Power Plant located in Auvere.’
In addition, work is underway to connect the Technology Park and the Narva wind farm, which produces 7 GWh of electricity per year, with a direct line. Similar opportunities are also planned to be offered in the vicinity of the Enefit Green wind farms, which would further expand the number of companies that can directly consume green energy. However, these cannot be as energy-intensive as in the Technology Park near Narva where, in addition to wind energy, there is also dispatchable power in the form of power stations.
New and diversified jobs for Ida-Viru County
‘Upgrading the Narva power plants and developing the associated industry will benefit all of Estonia. Recent high electricity prices are due to a shortage of both renewable and dispatchable energy. With hybrid power plants, we are offering cleaner and therefore cheaper dispatchable energy, which will help to make energy prices both lower and more predictable,’ said Vainola.
Creating the best opportunities for customers and increasing renewable energy capacity is a priority in the development of the Technology Park, but so is benefitting the local community.
‘When talking to any potential partner, we consider what their move to the Technology Park will bring to the local community. For example, we will consider the planned well-paid jobs, the taxes paid to the local government and the state, and the impact on speeding up the transition to renewable energy,’ Leemets illustrated. ‘The diversity of the fields of activity of companies is also important, to encourage the creation of high added value jobs in different sectors, and thus take real steps to reduce dependence on the energy and chemicals industries and disperse the risks for people.’
Close cooperation with Narva Industrial Park and the City of Narva
Enefit Technology Park is working closely with the Ida-Viru County Industrial Areas Development Foundation (IVIA), which is developing the large-scale Narva Industrial Park adjacent to the Balti Power Plant. Last year, Enefit Power, IVIA, the City of Narva and the companies operating in the Industrial Park, Aquaphor ja MAST Europe, signed a pentalateral Memorandum of Understanding, with financial commitments also taken by the City. According to Teet Kuusmik, leader of IVIA, this takes cooperation with the local government to a new level, demonstrating a long-term commitment.
‘The number of companies that have acquired property and are planning investments in Narva Industrial Park is steadily increasing,’ said Kuusmik. ‘In addition to low-cost electricity, they have access to the infrastructure – from water to central heating. Being close to electricity generation means not only better prices but also lower risks in terms of high security of supply.’
An agropark of 1,500 hectares, i.e., twice the size of the City of Jõhvi, is planned on the territory of the former Narva quarry, which would give the restored areas a new multifunctional use after the end of oil shale mining. The project is not only large scale in the Baltic context, but in the whole Baltic Sea region as well. Businesses operating at the agropark would be able to make use of the residual heat from the power plants as well as consume electricity via a direct line.
‘The agropark concept envisages a maximum circular economy that does not produce waste itself. Production uses local electricity and heat, which is used to produce local food and other products. But the residues from these activities are processed into biogas or feed, for example,’ Kuusmik said. ‘For old quarries, this is the most sensible solution of all.’
In addition to Ida-Viru County, an Enefit Technology Park is also being developed at Enefit Green’s Iru cogeneration plant. The plant produces both electricity and district heating for the City of Tallinn. Thanks to state-of-the-art WtE (Waste-to-Energy) technology, landfilling of household waste in Estonia has been minimised, ensuring a greener and cleaner future. The electricity generation capacity of the power plant is 17 MW, offering a possibility to connect major consumers exceeding 10 MW directly to the power plant.